DES MOINES – History, with a chance for even more next season.
Let's not get into that just yet. Let what the Iowa City West Trojans already have accomplished breathe a little bit.
A 57-45 win Saturday night over West Des Moines Valley at Wells Fargo Arena secured West's third consecutive Class 4A state basketball championship. No one else has done that.
Only once before has someone won three big-school titles in a row, and that was Davenport High School (1950 to 1952) and legendary coach Paul Moon. It's West's sixth gold trophy, the fifth under head coach Steve Bergman.
Can you begin to think about calling him legendary, too? He has been in charge during a remarkable run.
The other constant during it has been Wyatt Lohaus. The tournament captain and a strong candidate for 2014 Iowa Mr. Basketball, the 6-foot-2 senior guard and University of Northern Iowa signee capped a four-year career that saw him win 94 of 103 games.
He led a relatively inexperienced club to a 23-3 record. West had a 60-game win streak snapped in January at Dubuque Senior, there was an overtime loss later to a team from Minneapolis and a late regular-season defeat at 3A championship Dubuque Wahlert.
That had you wondering if the Trojans really could three-peat, but when the chips were down, they elevated their play. A semifinal win over top-seeded Bettendorf got them to the cusp of history, with them firmly grasping it via a win that perhaps wasn't the prettiest.
Seventh-seeded Valley (17-9) shocked the world, at least the state, with a quarterfinal upset of Senior, following it with a smaller upset of Sioux City North in the semifinals. But the Tigers were never really in the game, thanks to meek 34-percent shooting from the field.
West had four players tied for team scoring honors: Lohaus, David DiLeo, Chike Ukah and Nick Gallagher (13 apiece). Ukah also had 13 rebounds.
West shot a blazing 67 percent from the field in the second half. It shot just 38 percent from the field and was limited to an uncharacteristic 21 points in the first half, but Valley scored only 13.
With the exception of a few seconds, at 3-2, West played with a lead the entire way. DiLeo hit an inside hoop for a 4-3 Trojans edge, then freshman Connor McCaffery got the roll on a 3-pointer.
Lohaus' and-one drive made it 14-5 after the first quarter. The only real offensive fireworks the opening 16 minutes were provided by Valley forward Tyler Williams, who had a lob dunk and rebound dunk in the second quarter.
A pair of DiLeo 3s early in the fourth quarter extended West's lead to 39-22 and officially put things out of reach. He and McCaffery will return as starters next season.
DiLeo made the all-tournament team, as did Bettendorf's Nicholas Baer, North's Daniel Tillo and Valley's Turner Scott.
Read more: http://iowaprepsports.com/2014/03/15/iowa-city-west-wins-historic-third-straight-title/