IOWA CITY, Iowa – Iowa City West opened the fourth quarter with an alley-oop dunk to begin the fourth. Junior guard Wyatt Lohaus stood on the right wing, outside the 3-point line, and telegraphed a lob to the left block where Jason Stewart threw it down.
It marked the Tojans' third consecutive two-handed slam.
"Well the last one, Stewart said, 'I almost had one.' So we set up a little lob for him," Iowa City West head coach Steve Bergman said. "We don't normally do that, but that's a play that we'd worked on all year and hadn't run."
Friday, it worked to perfection, just like everything else the Trojans did. Iowa City West (22-0) opened its postseason defense of its Class 4A state title with a 74-30 win over Cedar Rapids Prairie (6-17).
"They seem to be on a mission," Prairie head coach James Moses said. "If they play like tonight, I feel sorry for any of the opponents that they do play."
Up next for Trojans is another Cedar Rapids foe, Jefferson on Tuesday.
When Stewart returned to the floor after his alley-oop the Trojans had 23 field goals on 38 attempts. Shooting 61 percent from the field opened a 41-point lead 11 seconds into the fourth quarter. The efficiency came almost unexpectedly.
Despite being defending champs and semifinalists in 2011, the team entered the tournament with an eight day layoff and an unstructured routine.
"I was very, very uptight about it," Bergman said. "Just the non-routine week, no school; we don't have school until next Wednesday so you know we're really going to depending on our guys showing maturity."
No one displayed more poise than senior Jeremy Morgan. Through three quarters he finished with 21 points and five rebounds to lead West. His four assists matched Lohaus for the team high.
"He's been, really, really good the last three weeks," Bergman said. "There isn't anybody any better than him. I wouldn't trade him for anybody."