Cougars can't stop Trojans

Cougars can't stop Trojans

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Cougars can't stop Trojans

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So this is 40.

It looks a lot like 39 and 31 and 29 for the West High boys basketball team. The top-ranked Trojans ran their two-season winning streak to 40 games with a convincing 77-44 victory over Cedar Rapids Kennedy on Tuesday at West High.

The Trojans are 14-0 overall this season and 9-0 in MVC play. They remain a game ahead of second-ranked Dubuque Senior in the Mississippi division. Kennedy (9-4, 6-3) came into this game third in the division, but West exposed the large divide between the top two teams and the rest by running away with this one.

“What they’re doing that they weren’t doing earlier in the year or last year is they’re getting a lead and pretty much trying to keep the intensity,” West High coach Steve Bergman said. “That’s a team that’s been playing pretty well, but our defense after the first couple minutes, where I don’t know what was going on, was really, really good.”

After uncharacteristically giving up some easy drives to the basket West’s defense not only shut down the Cougars but supplied the ignition to the offense. Leading 12-7 West put together eight consecutive scoring possessions, four of which came after turnovers by Kennedy. Three of those four were steals.

Just four possessions into the second quarter West led 29-11 and extended that to a 39-15 halftime margin.

“We didn’t come out very focused in the beginning, but we got it turned around and got it picked up and got a good win,” senior Jeremy Morgan said.

Kennedy made 7-of-16 shots in the first half and committed 12 turnovers. You can’t give West that many extra possessions.

By contrast, the Trojan offense made 19-of-31 shots in the half and finished 33-of-56 despite massive substitutions.

Nothing Kennedy tried defensively, and the Cougars tried everything, slowed down the Trojans. The Cougars threw a couple different zones at them, and Wyatt Lohaus directed a patient almost surgical passing game that inevitably got the Trojans a high-percentage shot.

West did not commit a turnover in the first half, and Bergman was pleased with the 19 assists his team compiled.

Passing was not a problem for this team. Unlike a year ago when one or two players usually came away with a high point total this year’s team is content to make that extra pass, sometimes even when it’s not necessary.

“We’re a really unselfish team,” Morgan said. “When we find the open person it gets other people easier shots.”

Center Myzeah Batie-Gaddy led the team with 18 points and was the beneficiary of several great feeds under the basket. Lohaus scored 17.

“Teams decide what they want to do defensively, and you’ve got to take what people give you,” Bergman said. “I like the idea that we have five guys basically averaging within two points of each other.”

C.R. KENNEDY (44) – Blake Murdock 2-6 2-2 7, Anthony Carter 3-9 0-0 7, Patrick Martin 2-5 1-2 5, Johnathan Koelling 2-5 0-0 4, Austin Holzer 1-1 0-0 2, John Bardsley 2-2 0-0 4, Drew Heitland 1-2 0-0 2, Brandon Buck 1-2 0-0 3, Benjamin Struss 3-4 3-4 9, Draven Fuller 0-0 1-2 1, Seth Gilmore 0-0 0-0 0, Cole Murdock 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-37 7-10.

WEST HIGH (77) – Dondre Alexander 2-7 2-2 6, Jeremy Morgan 3-6 0-0 6, Wyatt Lohaus 7-8 2-2 17, Myzeah Batie-Gaddy 8-12 1-2 18, Austin Swank 1-5 0-0 2, Jason Stewart 1-11-2 3, Chike Ukah 3-4 0-0 6, David DiLeo 2-4 2-2 7, Mark Lowe 1-1 0-0 2, Justin Fleming 2-2 0-0 5, Garrett Grimsman 0-2 0-0 0, Cutler Simpson 0-0 0-0 0, Nick Gallagher 0-0 0-0 0, Chad Rubin 0-0 0-0 0, Nicholas Spiess 0-0 0-0 0, Harley Shear 1-2 0-1 2, Marquise Yarbrough 2-2 1-1 5. Totals 33-56 9-12.

C.R. Kennedy 7 8 13 16 44
West High 21 18 22 16 77

3-point goals – C.R. Kennedy 3-10 (B. Murdock 1-3, Carter 1-4, Buck 1-2, C. Murdock 0-1), West 4-11 (Alexander 0-4, Lohaus 1-1, Batie-Gaddy 1-1, Swank 0-1, DiLeo 1-3, Fleming 1-1). Total fouls – C.R. Kennedy 13, West 12. Fouled out – none.

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