The 2015–16 Iowa–Grant boys basketball team produced an historic season.
The Panthers put together a 22-game winning streak, won the program’s first conference title in 22 years with a perfect 14–0 record in league play and took the tiny communities in the Iowa–Grant district on a wonderful winter ride.
Last week, Iowa–Grant was justly reward when it swept the major awards and earned three spots on the All-Southwestern Wisconsin Activities League first team when the conference announced its postseason honors last week prior to the WIAA state tournament.
Coach Toby Tripalin was named the SWAL Coach of the Year, while senior forward Isaac Anderson was named the league’s Player of the Year.
Fellow seniors Brayden Johnson and Collin Price joined Anderson on the 13-player first team.
Iowa–Grant lost its first game of the season to Dodgeville, but then rattled off 22 consecutive wins to climb as high as seventh in the Division 4 coaches poll, before a 44–40 regional final loss to SWAL rival Cuba City ended the unforgettable run.
“It is an honor to be named SWAL Coach of the Year amongst a conference of incredible coaches who all work incredibly hard at what they do,” said Tripalin, who is in his sixth year at I–G’s head coach.
Anderson, a two-time first-team All-SWAL selection, led the conference in scoring at 20.8 points per game, while averaging 9.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.6 steals per game. He shot a team-best 60.6 percent (175-for-289) from the field, 75.4 percent (89-for-118) from the free throw line and 35.1 percent (20-for-57) from behind the arc.
Anderson surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his career in a win over Southwestern on Dec. 11 and finished his four-year varsity career with 1,418 points. Anderson earned a spot on the 11-player Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division 4 All-State team.
“Isaac is an incredible basketball player and person,” said Tripalin. “His ability to score from inside and out, lead by example and do a variety of things well for us on the defensive end makes him the best player in the SWAL conference. Isaac meant so much to our team in the way he helped everyone stay composed during pressure situations, how he was able to rise up to the challenge in big moments and how he was humble and positive throughout his career. I couldn’t be happier that such a classy, humble and deserving young man is the winner of the award.”
Johnson averaged 15.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists and 1.6 steals per game as the Panthers’ starting point guard. He also shot 50.6 percent (131-for-259) from the field, 70.4 percent (57-for-81) from the free throw line and a team-best 43.4 percent on 3-pointers (53-for-122).
“I have been around basketball my entire life and when I reflect upon the players I have come across in high school, college and overseas there is no one that competes harder than Brayden Johnson,” said Tripalin. “His fight and tenacity and the way he consistently delivered when the pressure was on made him such a valuable asset to our team. He did all of this while remaining unassuming and conducting himself with class.”
Price averaged 9.0 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 48.6 percent (86-for-177 from the field.
“Collin is the hardest worker I have ever coached,” said Tripalin. “Whatever I asked of Collin he always rose up to the high expectations I set for him. His leadership in practice, during morning weight training and in the summer made him extremely valuable. He is a tough and determined young man who is deserving of this award because of the type of player he is and the type of quality young man he has become.”
Boys Basketball Team
Coach of the Year
Toby Tripalin Iowa–Grant
Player of the Year
Isaac Anderson sr. Iowa–Grant
Ryan Latham Boscobel sr.
Ben Burkholder Cuba CIty sr.
Ryan Glendenning Darlington jr.
Trevor Johnson Darlington jr.
Will Schwartz Darlington jr.
Reid Larson Fennimore sr.
Isaac Anderson Iowa–Grant sr.
Brayden Johnson Iowa–Grant sr.
Collin Price Iowa–Grant sr.
Jack Warrick Mineral Point jr.
Chance Wendhausen Mineral Point so.
Kyle Tranel Southwestern sr.
Ezra Vaassen Southwestern sr.
Honorable mention — Dallas Marks, Boscobel, sr.; Tommy Monroe, Boscobel, jr.; Justin Droessler, Cuba City, sr.; Chris Moor, Cuba City, jr.; Chad Golackson, Darlington, jr.; Josh Soper, Darlington, jr.; Brett Needham, Fennimore, sr.; Dylan MacGilvra, Mineral Point, sr.; Elijah Cannon, Riverdale, sr.; Kurt Tranel, Southwestern, sr.