The sport of boys basketball has seen its share of twists and turns in the Southeast Conference, and the 2020-21 season promising to be just as exciting.
The SEC boys basketball championship has stayed in the Union Coverage area for each of the last five seasons. Mt. Pleasant went on a run of three-in-a-row from 2015-2018, going 24-0 in conference play during that time period. Fairfield took the crown with an 8-0 conference record in 2018-19, and Washington rose to the top of the league in 2019-20, going 9-1 in its championship run.
The Demons won the 2019-20 conference championship by two games over second-place Keokuk (7-3). Mt. Pleasant tied for third with newcomer Burlington, with both schools finishing at 6-4. Fairfield tied for fifth with Fort Madison with each team closing out the season at 9-1.
Washington’s only SEC loss of the year came in a 59-57 thriller at Keokuk. The Demons split the season series with the Chiefs, but was swept by Burlington, losing both matchups with the Grayhounds 61-59 and 62-41.
All three of the Union area big schools saw their seasons end at Davenport Assumption High School. The Trojans were beaten by Assumption, 69-45, in the Sustate quarterfinals. Washington was knocked off in the quarters by Mt. Pleasant, falling to the Panthers 68-51, and Mt. Pleasant dropped a 64-54 game to Assumption in the Substate semifinals.
Assuming all teams are eligible to play in 2020-21, the conference would have a lot of big names back. The SEC should see the return of seven of its Top-10 scorers and all of its Top-3.
Senior Anthony Potratz from Keokuk will be the leading returning scorer, putting up 15.9 points per game last season. Burlington senior Michael Alexander scored 15.4 points per game last season, and Washington junior Kasen Bailey put up 13.4 points per game to lead the Demons.
Along with those three players, there are four more expected returners who finished last season in double digits. Fort Madison junio Dayton Davis (11.6 PPG), Keokuk senior Isaiah Seay (11.2 PPG), Mt. Pleasant senior Brevin Wilson (10.4 PPG) and Washington sophomore Ethan Patterson (10.1 PPG) will all be key players to watch when the new year begins.
In the Union coverage area, Washington and Fairfield are expected to bring back the most varsity talent from last year. The Demons return all three of their top scorers, with senior Trashaun Willis (9.3 PPG) joining Bailey and Patterson. Fairfield had three freshman in its Top-5 scorers last year; Max Weaton (8.9 PPG), J.J. Lane (5.5 PPG) and Tate Allen (3.3 PPG).
Wilson is the only returning Top-5 scorer for Mt. Pleasant in 2020-21. Jack Johnson scored 2.1 points per game last season, which was seventh on the Panthers’ team.
The three area teams will have their hands full with the rest of the league. Burlington returns its Top-11 scorers from the 2019-20 campaign. Keokuk returns four of its Top-5 scorers, and Fort Madison returns two of its Top-5.