Tucker Kinney opened his senior season for the Central DeWitt boys basketball team with a bang.
He closes it with a number of honors, including a spot on a Class 3A all-state team.
Kinney, who tied a school record with 41 points in the Sabers’ season opener, was one of 24 players across the state named to the Iowa Print Sports Writers Association 3A all-state team, landing on the third team.
It was one of a trio of honors for the senior forward, who was also named to the Iowa Basketball Coaches Association all-substate team and the All-WaMaC East team.
Kinney led the Sabers and ranked 27th among all 3A players by averaging 16.5 points per game.
The Saber made over half — 51.8 percent — of his shots from the floor, including better than 57 percent of his two-point tries, and Kinney also knocked down 18 three-pointers and 69 free throws.
Only eight players in the class pulled down more rebounds than Kinney’s 210 — an average of 8.8 per game — and the senior tied for third in 3A with 161 defensive boards.
That just was part of a strong all-around season for the Saber, who also ranked second on the team with 48 assists and paced the squad with 46 steals, while coming up with 13 blocked shots.
Kinney was one of three WaMaC East players honored on the team. Mount Vernon junior Keaton Kutcher was a first-team selection in 3A, while Beckman Catholic’s Michael Keegan — the division’s Player of the Year — was a first-team pick in 2A (Clear Creek-Amana’s Christian Withrow and Center Point-Urbana’s Kole Tupa represented the WaMaC West on the 3A team).
Norwalk senior Bowen Born was named the state’s Mr. Basketball.
Born, a future University of Northern Iowa Panther, averaged an eye-popping 36.9 points per game in his final prep campaign, while leading the Warriors to a 3A state title.
Born shot 55.4 percent from the field, while leading the state in field goals (324), three-pointers (106) and free throws (206, only two other players in Iowa attempted more than 200 free throws) made.
Kinney was not the only Saber honored on the Iowa Basketball Coaches Association All-3A Substate 4 team as his head coach, Grady Gallagher, was named Coach of the Year.
The Sabers won 18 games in Gallagher’s second season. That was an eight-victory improvement from the year before and the program’s most wins since its state runner-up team in 2014.
Kinney, meanwhile, was one of seven players selected to the Substate 4 team, joining individuals from Mount Vernon, Dubuque Wahlert, Cedar Rapids Xavier and West Delaware.
The Saber senior was also one of five players to be a unanimous selection to the All-WaMaC East first team (Kutcher and Noah Erickson of Mount Vernon, Marion’s Connor Whalen and Keegan were also unanimous picks).
Kinney was not the only Saber on the first team either, as fellow senior Alex McAleer was also named to the seven-player team.
Junior guard Henry Bloom, meanwhile, brought home second-team honors, while seniors Logan Paulsen and Zach Hinkle garnered honorable mention accolades.
McAleer finished seventh among WaMaC East players with 275 points — 11.5 per game — and shot 48 percent from the floor with 20 three-pointers and 59 free throws.
And he did it all on the offensive end while also being tasked with slowing down the division’s top scoring threats on defense.
McAleer did not make life easy for his defensive targets, coming up with 43 steals and leading the Sabers with 19 blocked shots.
The senior pulled down 79 rebounds for good measure and helped out his teammates with 35 assists.
Only two players in the WaMaC East had more assists than Bloom, who finished with 86 of them in his junior campaign.
That was just part of the Saber’s strong offensive arsenal as the Bloom also paced the team with 21 three-pointers, made over 53 percent of his two-pointers and knocked down 52 free throws.
Bloom added 57 rebounds and came up with 14 steals.
Paulsen added 143 points in his senior campaign, while shooting better than 46 percent from the field. The Saber set up his teammates as well with 19 assists.
The senior forward grabbed 73 rebounds and was a disruptive force on the defensive end with 11 blocked shots — ninth among WaMaC East players — and 13 steals.
Few East players fought harder for rebounds than Hinkle, who came up with 81 boards, including 30 on the offensive end (second only to Kinney among Sabers players).
Hinkle added 119 points with a quarter of them — 30 — coming from behind the three-point line. The senior dished out 30 assists and came up with 13 steals.