Trojans turn it on in the second half

Trojans turn it on in the second half


Trojans turn it on in the second half



No. 1 West High showed glimpses of being that top-ranked team Friday during a 54-41 win over No. 10 Cedar Rapids Xavier.

“Good teams have stages like that,” senior Jeremy Morgan said. “It’s how you deal with adversity that makes you good.”

Up by just two at half, 21-19, West High (6-0) found a new gear defensively.

“We played really good defense; that was the thing,” West coach Steve Bergman said.

“We stepped it up on defense,” Morgan said. “We didn’t have a very good offensive flow. Bergie said if we played good solid defense, that would get us easy shots.

“We just started getting out in passing lanes and made it hard for them to run their main offense.”

West outscored Xavier (5-2) in the third quarter 15-5. Junior Wyatt Lohaus softened the Saints up with a 3-pointer and then sliced through their defense a few moments later.

Senior Austin Swank hit a pair of shots to help close the quarter on a 6-0 run.

“I don’t think we were very strong with the ball. They got to us,” Xavier coach Ryan Luehrsmann said. “They get to a lot of people. Not anything to get ashamed of.”

Luehrsmann didn’t save the praise for the defending Class 4A champions and nationally ranked Trojans.

“When you are arguably one of the greatest basketball teams in the history of Iowa 4A boys basketball, you’re going to make those runs,” Luehrsmann said.

Up 36-24 going into the final quarter. West High did enough to seal the win. When the score was cut to nine 40-31, West senior Myzeah Batie-Gaddy had his second dunk of the night.

“I’d just as soon make layups and dunks all the time,” Bergman said.

Batie-Gaddy also had a momentum-changing dunk right before half to break the 19-19 tie.

“That was good momentum,” Batie-Gaddy said. “That helped our energy in the second half.

“We wanted to come out with a little more energy. We weren’t getting it done in the first half.”

Xavier (5-2) was able to scrap early with West, forcing it inside and drawing fouls. But the Saints couldn’t keep it up in the second half.

“We had to come out and not allow them to do just what they did,” Luehrsmann said. “Wyatt Lohaus got away from us and all the others fed off of him.”

Lohaus finished with 10 points and was one of four Trojans in double figures. Swank had 13 points and Dondre Alexander equaled him with 13 points off the bench. It was Alexander’s second game back from an early-season suspension.

“I’m doing good,” Alexander said. “I’m getting back in the grove.”

Morgan had 10 points and Batie-Gaddy chipped in eight points.

“We’re trying to put the target on our opponents’ backs,” Alexander said. “At half we knew the game was too close and we knew we could do better.”

Bergman said the Trojans didn’t play with a lead very well, and shot just two free throws — with 5:46 left — in the fourth quarter.

“We haven’t been in lot of close games,” Bergman said. “We were very quick on offense. Two passes and a drive. That’s not how we play every day in practice.”

That West High team is looking more and more like the one that won the title last season and is ranked No. 1 this year.

“We just started practicing the right way about a week ago,” Bergman said. “It’s not going to look good all the time.

“It’s a work in progress.”

Xavier was impressed.

“When you are down eight to them, its like being down 16,” Luehrsmann said. “We’re really happy.”

Corbin Woods led the Saints with 10 points.

“Xavier is pretty good,” Batie-Gaddy said.

(54) – Jeremy Morgan 4-7 2-2 10, Wyatt Lohaus 4-9 1-2 10, Myzeah Batie-Gaddy 3-6 2-2 8, Austin Swank 5-8 2-2 13, Jason Stewart 0-0 0-0 0, Dondre Alexander 6-12 1-2 13, David DiLeo 0-0 0-0 0, Chike Ukah 0-0 0-0 0, Mark Lowe 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-42 8-10 54.

C.R. XAVIER (41) – Calvin Winker 2-5 3-3 7, Trey Sampson 3-12 2-4 9, Adam McDermott 0-2 0-0 0, Matt Nelson 1-2 3-6 5, Corbin Woods 4-12 1-2 10, matt Downey 0-1 0-0 0, Robbie Thinnes 1-1 2-4 4, Reggie Schulte 2-5 0-0 4, Frank Hill 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-40 11-19 41.

West High 8 13 15 18 54
C.R. Xavier 10 9 5 17 41

3-point goals – West x-x (Lohaus 1-2, Swank 1-2, Alexander 0-4), Xavier x-x (Sampson 1-3, Woods 1-3). Rebounds – West 28 (Batie-Gaddy 7, Alexander 7), Xavier 20 (Nelson 6). Turnovers West 18, Xavier 16. Fouls – West 16, Xavier 12. Technical fouls – Xavier bench. Fouled out – none.


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