New class, new trophy, new challenge
CEDAR RAPIDS– The West High Women of Troy are going back to the Girls State Basketball Tournament. A decisive 55-42 win over City High Tuesday night at Cedar Rapids Prairie in a Class 5A regional final punched their ticket, and put the ladies on track for their third consecutive tourney appearance.
West led the third meeting this season of the crosstown rivals throughout, edging past 11-10 after the first period and taking a 21-19 lead into the locker room at the half.
The Little Hawks gave West a lump of coal for Christmas on Dec. 21 by winning 65-52, and pulled-off a close 46-44 win just a few weeks ago on Feb. 4.
With the game tied 8-8, Ally Disterhoft sank a 3-pointer for the lead on her way to a 29-point night. Grace Tafolla and Danielle Craig also had first half three-bombs. Disterhoft opened the second half with an 8-point assault from a pair of treys and two free throws. West was the home team and acted like the Prairie Hawks’ floor was their very own, taking the battle to the Little Hawks with an aggressive man-to-man defense and an offense led by the senior Disterhoft. However, the sophomores also stepped up with Craig adding 14 points, while Tafolla and Mikaela Morgan had 6 each.
“Ally’s been tremendous,” coach B.J. Mayer said after the game, “but our younger kids picked it up throughout. We got a lot of contributions out of a lot of people tonight, from rebounds to Danielle (Craig) hitting a couple threes. There were just so many big plays that happened. Mikaela (Morgan) was really big on the defensive end, especially rebounding (she had nine total), we had her off of (Kiera) Washpun and helping on Haley (Lorenzen), she was able to do some good things. Mollie Mason gave us some nice minutes as well.”
After three periods of play, the Women of Troy were ahead 39-28 and never looked back. As the clock hit 0:00 the West bench emptied as 15 joyous girls celebrated the upset.
“We really didn’t have anything to lose,” Mayer said about his squad’s do-or-die attitude. The coach also had special thanks for Prairie’s boys coach James Moses for leaving his keys to the game on the board in the locker room from the game the night before against City High in a Class 4A substate quarterfinal. “They’re everything we talked we needed to do: take care of the ball, rebound, play our style for 32 minutes, and play together– we had nothing to lose.”
West was the state runner-up in Class 4A in 2011 and took the championship last year in 4A in overtime. This year, it’s a quest to be the first to take home a Class 5A Championship trophy. First up is a quarterfinal match-up against Mason City on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 6:45 p.m. in the Wells Fargo Arena. The Mohawks are ranked No. 3 with a 20-3 record, according to the final rankings put out by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union. West is No. 10 with 18-5. City High was No. 1 and retires for the season at 20-3.