Five for fighting
IOWA CITY— The West High Trojans take to the hardwood for the 2011-2012 season under the guidance of Coach Steve Bergman. In his 22nd year with the Trojans, Bergman leads with a 400-172 career record.
Jake Gylten of North Liberty is the sole senior in the starting five, made up of juniors Jeremy Morgan and Dondre Alexander, with sophomore Wyatt Lohaus. Gylten picked up a Mississippi Valley Conference (MVC) Honorable Mention last season with seven points per game and three rebounds as a 6 foot 5 inch forward. Morgan made the All-MVC Second Team with nearly ten points per game and three rebounds as a 6 foot 5 inch guard. Alexander was named to the All-MVC First Team and All-State Second Team with 13 points per game and five rebounds as a 6 foot 3 inch forward. Lohaus earned MVC Honorable Mention last year as a freshman with four points per game, one rebound and eight assists on average as a 6 foot 1 inch guard.
Junior Austin Swank also returns as a 6 foot 1 inch guard who averaged four and a half points per game last year.
Three juniors: Myzeah Batie-Gaddy, Jason Stewart and Tavian Smith, join the line-up as well. Batie-Gaddy is a 6 foot 4 inch forward, Stewart is a 6 foot 5 inch forward and Smith is a 5 foot 9 inch guard. Bergman describes Batie-Gaddy as “physical, very athletic,” Stewart as “improving and a really big guy.” Smith is labeled as “a great athlete, great defender.”
“Our first five will be very experienced, after that, not so much,” Bergman said of his Trojans, noting depth will be a concern this season. “We have a number of kids who are skilled and comfortable handling and shooting the ball.” But, without a true post, there could be a concern defensively.
Bergman sees the MVC as a tough neighborhood to play in again this year. He gives the nod to Linn Mar and Cedar Falls as the favorites in the Mississippi and Valley Divisions respectively along with the Trojans, Dubuque Senior and Cedar Rapids Kennedy. “Some teams that had tough years last year will be greatly improved.”
West opened its season Monday, Nov. 21, with a Jamboree at Cedar Rapids Jefferson. The Trojans’ first home game will be Tuesday, Dec. 13, against Waterloo East with a 7:30 p.m. game time.