April 01, 2023

Creston connections in state basketball games

DES MOINES — Two head coaches with Creston ties are directing their teams in Boys State Basketball Tournament championship games today.

Ben Gerleman of Creston has his Central Lyon team in the 2A state title game for the second consecutive year when the Lions take on Western Christian at 3 p.m. today. Last year Central Lyon was state runner-up behind northwest Iowa rival Rock Valley.

Gerleman was an all-state and all-tournament guard, sharing all-tournament captain honors with teammate Kyle McCann after the 1996-97 Creston team topped Pella for the Class 3A championship. He has also coached George-Little Rock to a Class 1A state championship.

Former Creston coach Brett Watson is coach of the Waukee Northwest team in tonight’s Class 4A state championship game at 7 p.m. against West Des Moines Valley. Northwest beat crosstown rival Waukee, 66-46, in the third meeting of the two teams in Thursday’s semifinals. Northwest won two of those games.

Watson coached Creston to a 15-7 record in his only season with the Panthers in 2014-15.

The championship games will be televised on Fox 17 (Des Moines) and streamed on the Iowa High School Sports Network website watch.ihssn.com. Grand View Christian takes on North Linn in the 1A game at 1 p.m. to open play in the 2023 championship round.