IOWA CITY, Ia. — Pleasant Valley fans had eight minutes of glory at Iowa City West on Friday night. That’s how long their Spartans led the No. 1 team in the state by a score of 114-31.
The scoreboard broke down with 6 minutes, 36 seconds left in the third, and a Hunter Snyder basket that should’ve made it 31-17, West, suddenly counted for 99 points in favor of PV.
After eight minutes, a new scoreboard device got installed and cold reality set in for the overmatched Spartans. Iowa City West outscored them, 40-27, the rest of the way and won, 71-44. Connor McCaffery led with 24 points, Devontae Lane scored 21 and Patrick McCaffery added eight.
The Trojans shot a blistering 61 percent — 72 percent in the second half.
“We did everything we could to rest because we were dead last Saturday,” West head coach Steve Bergman said, referencing West’s 85-72 loss at Cretin-Durham Hall in Minnesota. “That game, we played with no energy. We had no chance; you can’t play like that. So our first goal was to get rested up. The guys who were tired, a little bit worn-out, we got them rested up.”
Bergman’s plan worked. The top-ranked Trojans (19-3) bubbled with energy for the full four quarters. The defensive discipline didn’t come until the second quarter, though.
Five-foot-10 sophomore Carter Duwa scored eight points, and Pleasant Valley (11-12) trailed West by one, 14-13, after the first frame.
West held the Spartans to two points in the second quarter and ballooned its lead to 27-15 by halftime. And while Duwa was still able to find his way inside quite a bit, he scored only eight points over the final three quarters.
“I think we had that bye and maybe we weren’t as sharp as we needed to be,” Connor McCaffery said. “I think we had energy but I don’t think defensively we were in the right places, and maybe we weren’t focused enough. And I think in that second half we got after it more and that was the difference.”
Connor McCaffery got whatever he wanted. He stayed outside for most of the first half, going 2-for-5 from long range — his only five shots. That set up his inside game in half No. 2, when he regularly blew by his perimeter defender for buckets at the rim. He scored 15 of his 24 in the latter half.
“I saw some opportunities and I tried to take advantage of them,” he said.
West will play Muscatine (15-6) in the Substate 5 final next Tuesday night at the U.S. Cellular Center. That’ll bring about one of the more intriguing matchups these playoffs will offer: Muscatine’s Joe Wieskamp vs. the Trojans.
Or maybe more specifically, Wieskamp, a 2018 Iowa basketball commit, vs. Connor McCaffery and Patrick McCaffery, a 2017 Iowa commit and a presumed 2019 Hawkeye.
“I’ve played with Joe for forever and I know what he’s going to bring,” Connor McCaffery said. “He’s going to make tough shots.”
Entering Friday, Wieskamp led the state with 30.5 points per game. He scored 31 in the Muskies’ 61-55 win over Linn-Mar.
The Trojans committed eight turnovers against Pleasant Valley. The Spartans shot 40 percent and committed 15 turnovers.
Matthew Bain covers preps, recruiting and the Hawkeyes for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.