Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
Gazette/KCRG All-Area Boys' and Girls' BB
By Jeff Johnson and Jeff Linder, Reporters
Jeremy Morgan was tired and in some pain Monday night.
"Oh, man, are my legs sore," the Iowa City West senior said.
Morgan is running track this spring and still getting used to the workouts. He got a later start to the season than most of the Trojans because he was busy doing other things.
Like helping West's basketball team to its second consecutive undefeated season. The 6-foot-6 wing was the undisputed leader of a squad that went 26-0 for the second year in a row.
This Class 4A state championship wasn't easy to acquire, by any means. West lost one of its key players (Dondre Alexander) to suspension late in the season, somehow battled back from six points down in the final minute of its state tournament quarterfinal against West Des Moines Dowling and rallied from a halftime deficit in the semifinals against Dubuque Senior.
The Trojans drilled Bettendorf in the finals, 54-36.
"Doing what we did, going undefeated for two years, there's not any words you can describe it (with)," Morgan said. "I'm very blessed to be a part of this team."
The team was blessed to have him. West Coach Steve Bergman has called the Northern Iowa signee one of the best leaders he ever has had, an unselfish player who always had the team's best interests in mind. That's why he averaged just 12 points despite having skills that could have allowed him to get 20 a night.
Opposing coaches have mentioned he's one of the best defenders they've seen. Recently named the state's Gatorade Player of the Year, Morgan is The Gazette/KCRG boys' basketball player of the year.
"He gives up individual glory for the team," Bergman said. "He knows when it's go time. He is so good at picking up a kid whose confidence is down and that kind of thing."
Bergman is the area coach of the year. This was his fourth state title at West, putting him behind only Davenport's Paul Moon in big-school history.
He was able get his team through the in-season turmoil and having a target on its collective back.
"This just tells you I've coached a heck of a lot of good guys. That's what I see," Bergman said. "I've had a lot of good assistant coaches. I work hard at it, and the kids work just as hard. They work harder."
Other all-area selections include:
* Division I college signees/commitments Wyatt Lohaus of Iowa City West (Northern Iowa), Klinton Carlson of Waverly-Shell Rock (Northern Iowa) and Rylan Murry of West Branch (Nebraska-Omaha).
* Murry, MFL MarMac's C.J. Mason and Vinton-Shellsburg's Grant Sagan all scored over 1,000 points in their careers.
* Sagan, Mason, Dubuque Senior's Kyle Haber and Kalehl Brown of Cedar Falls are the only players on this list without cemented college plans.
Ally Disterhoft has won the highest honors a girls' basketball player in Iowa can earn.
Miss Iowa Basketball, by the Iowa Newspaper Association. Gatorade Player of the Year.
Maybe this one pales by comparison. But this one, she earned twice.
Disterhoft, who led Iowa City West to its third consecutive state tournament, is honored for the second consecutive year as The Gazette/KCRG player of the year.
It was a relatively easy selection. The 6-foot senior guard, bound for the University of Iowa, led the state in scoring at 26.3 points per game.
"Ally did everything she's done (this season) with most teams focusing on her," said West Coach B.J. Mayer.
Disterhoft led West to the Class 4A state championship in 2012, then after the team graduated most of its lineup led the Women of Troy back to state this season.
They got there by upsetting No. 1 Iowa City High in the regional final, then fell to Mason City in the state quarterfinals.
"I always thought we'd have a lot of potential. On paper, we weren't expected to do as well," Disterhoft said. We were getting better, but it was at a slower rate than we wanted. But it paid off at the end."
Tom Lilly is the area coach of the year after leading Cedar Rapids Xavier to its fourth state championship.
"The neat thing is that each team was a different group of kids," Lilly said. "The kids seemed to buy into what we wanted to do, and they got better each day."
Xavier used the same formula for a title run that it used in 2003, 2005 and 2007. The Saints were battle-tested by the Mississippi Valley Conference, then flourished against Class 4A competition in the postseason.
They concluded their run with a thrilling 53-52 victory over Harlan in the championship game.
Kayla Armstrong was named the 4A all-tournament captain, and her brilliance in Des Moines earned her a spot on the all-area team, even though she earned no all-state honors by INA.
Disterhoft is one of three players to repeat on this team. Benton Community's Madison Weekly and City High's Mickey Hansche are the others.
A UNI signee, Weekly led Benton to three state tournaments. She averaged 18.5 points, 3.4 assists and 4.5 steals per game.
Hansche and junior Haley Lorenzen led City High to a 20-3 season. Hansche averaged 14.9 points per game while Lorenzen a University of Florida commitment led the Little Hawks at 18.7 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.
Other all-area selections are:
* Cedar Rapids Washington's Dani Franklin, who averaged 17 points and led the Warriors to the state tournament.
* Waukon's Daneshia Snitker, the leading scorer in Class 3A at 25.5 points per game.
* Drake recruit Paige Greiner of Williamsburg, who led the state in free throw shooting at 89.9 percent. She averaged 15.1 points a game.
* North Linn's Nicole Miller, the youngster of the group as a sophomore. She averaged 20.8 points and led North Linn to the Tri-Rivers title.
* And Waterloo West's Blaire Thomas, who posted 15.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game.