By Skylan Akins, Staff Writer
The season has gone by quickly, and now it’s time for the post season! Here is our preview of Class 3, District 13 on the boys side.
Class 3 District 13
Teams: Skyline, Butler, Stockton, Windsor, Adrian, Cole Camp, Sherwood
Favorite: Skyline 20-3
Skyline are defending back-to-back district champions. The squad they bring in this year could be their best team they have had. Junior Lawson Beem and Brayden Porter have been fantastic for the tigers once again leading them to a 20-3 record. All three of their losses have come out of class falling to a great Springfield Catholic squad in the second round of the Blue & Gold. They fell to Class 4 Ava the next day in a triple overtime thriller. They have run through the Mid-Lakes Conference with ease as their closest game was a 12-point win at #7 Strafford. They also hold wins over the districts 2 seed Butler 74-55 in January and 3 seed Stockton 70-39. The Tigers are a heavy favorite to win the district and make a deep run into the Class 3 playoffs.
Contender: Butler 14-6
I will be honest; I haven’t watched Butler play yet this year, but the defending district Champions are experienced and ready to knock off the Tigers. Butler brings in seven seniors and five juniors on their roster. The Bulldogs are playing their best ball coming into districts as they are riding an eight-game winning streak including an Archie Tournament win. They also own wins over district opponent Stockton and Sherwood. They open with a rematch against 7th seeded Sherwood.
Dark Horse: Stockton 10-11
I love this Stockton squad. They will have to play underdog this year, but the young Tigers squad have their best basketball ahead of them. That being said Stockton has the talent to play spoiler this year. They have solid senior leadership in DJ Bays and Tate Wheeler and elite underclassman in 6’4 junior guard Layne Colvin and in my opinion one of the best sophomores no one has heard of in 6’4 Jay Baxter. Stockton’s combination of shooting and size makes Stockton a difficult matchup for anyone. They hold wins over Class 2 power Norwood, Buffalo, and Weaubleau. They have also played some very good teams close including two hard fought losses against Mt. Vernon, Strafford, and Lockwood. Stockton is going to be the underdog against Butler and Skyline but don’t be surprised if the Tigers make a run.
Top Players to Watch:
Lawson Beem 5’10 Skyline 2022
Beem is an athletic guard who can score at will. Lawson can also find his teammates just as easily. His 5’10 frame can get lost in the mix with some of the size that Skyline possesses but more than makes up with it with his playmaking ability. With the talent on the Skyline team Lawson won’t always stand out on the box score but he is the spark plug that makes this high-octane offense run. Beem can score on all three levels but is lethal in the mid-range. Beem is one of the best players in a loaded Class 3 and he is set to make a run into the state playoffs.
Jay Baxter 6’4 Stockton 2023
The 6’4 big man is still filling into his frame and could still grow some more. Baxter is skilled in all levels offensively. He dominates the post and can even step out and hit a few 3s Baxter struggled being physical early in the season but has found his game at the right time for the Tigers. Baxter has the potential to be one of the best players in the entire area if he continues to progress and keep the aggression in the post.