Boys Basketball: West Wins 48th Straight, Gets 2-Seed At State
By Jeff Johnson and Scott Saville, Reporters
CEDAR RAPIDS — They’re 23-0, defending state champs and have won 48 games in a row. They are mashing opponents by an average of 26 points.
And the Iowa City West Trojans are a No. 2 seed next week at the boys’ state basketball tournament.
“Yeah, that’s a little weird,” said West’s Jeremy Morgan, after a 56-27 beatdown of Cedar Rapids Jefferson Friday night in a Class 4A substate final at Cedar Rapids Prairie. “But that doesn’t really matter to us. We’re glad we got down there again, and we’re ready to take care of business.”
There’s a simple explanation behind Bettendorf trumping West as 4A’s top tourney seed. Neither has lost, and West played one more 3A team in the regular season.
In the end, it really doesn’t matter anyway since the two are in opposite brackets. West plays West Des Moines Dowling (18-5) at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday in a 4A quarterfinal at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
It’s not exactly going out on a limb by saying the Trojans are prohibitive favorites.
“To me, West is playing at a level that’s a rung or two higher than everybody else,” said Jefferson coach Stu Ordman.
The J-Hawks (13-10) were seeking a fourth consecutive state tourney trip. Instead this is the first time since 2002 the Metro has failed to send a team to Des Moines.
There was zero suspense here, with West getting out to a 17-2 lead. Jeff’s only chance was to hold the ball and shorten the game, but the problem was West’s man-to-man defense didn’t give the J-Hawks many decent looks ... or any.
“The defense was great, the 3-point shooting was awful,” said West coach Steve Bergman. “Defense will get you through some of that shooting. I know we’re better than that offensively. We need to be if we want to play more than one game the rest of the season.”
West was an uncharacteristic 3 of 14 from the 3-point stripe. Morgan had two of those makes in a 15-point game. Wyatt Lohaus added 12 points.
“We just weren’t patient at times. We took some quick shots,” Morgan said. “But, you know, I thought we played pretty good overall.”
“We’ve played one game of basketball in two weeks, and I think that’s tough,” Bergman said. “This time of year, you don’t go live in practice much because you don’t want to risk a sprained ankle or whatever. So we hadn’t gone live. Then the game keeps getting pushed off, so now it’s even more days we haven’t played live basketball. I think it showed up. We missed a lot of pretty easy shots.”
Jefferson missed a lot of shots, period. It was 23-6 West at halftime, with the J-Hawks finally hitting double digits in points halfway through the third quarter.
Jacob Olson had a team-high 10 points but was limited to 2-of-10 shooting. Jefferson shot 29 percent and didn’t make a single trey, going 0 for 13.
“I knew that if we could get some stops and get some good looks and knock down shots early, that would give us a little more confidence. But it didn’t happen.,” Ordman said. “Instead we were a little tight on those shots, and it’s very hard for us to get many offensive rebounds against anybody with our lack of height.”
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