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West High boys knock down WDM Dowling, 99-94

A little slice of revenge
Patrick McCaffery hangs from the rim after his second slam-dunk of the game Saturday, Nov. 26, at home against West Des Moines Dowling in a preseason exhibition match. McCaffery slammed the ball home in the first half and again in the second. The Trojans beat the Maroons, 99-94, with 17 points from McCaffery. (photo by Chris Umscheid)

By Chris Umscheid
North Liberty Leader
IOWA CITY– They didn’t expect to see each other so soon. Just a week after the Maroons of West Des Moines Dowling Catholic snuffed the Iowa City West High Trojans’ state championship hopes on the gridiron, the two teams met again Saturday, Nov. 26, this time on the hardwood.
However, it was a meeting that likely wouldn’t have occurred until the end of the season, at the state tournament in Des Moines but for a hiccup in preseason scheduling.
West High Athletic Director Craig Huegel had put together a day of basketball between West High’s varsity and sophomore teams (boys and girls) and Davenport Assumption. The Trojans had already scrimmaged with Cedar Rapids Kennedy on Tuesday, Nov. 22, and it would be the season opener for the Women of Troy. But the Knights backed out early in the week, leaving Huegel scrambling for a replacement team for the varsity boys game. After calling around the Trojans’ home Mississippi Valley Conference (MVC) and striking out, he called other area teams including several Class 3A squads without any success.
Then, Huegel, who came to West High from Marshalltown, expanded his search to the west and the Central Iowa Metropolitan League (CIML). Dowling was interested, but also had a game scheduled with Norwalk in the evening, but was willing to play earlier in the day. The varsity boys’ game moved from 3:30 p.m. to 11:30 a.m., volunteers shifted their schedules and the contest was on.
The Trojans got off to a slow start as the Maroons opened up with a barrage of three-point goals for a quick lead. Instead of four quarters of play, the game consisted of a pair of 20-minute halves. By halftime, West had closed to within six points, trailing 43-37. When play resumed, the Trojans went on an eight-point run to take the lead, 45-43. After the Maroons had retaken the lead, Ahmed Idris tied the game at 63 with a free throw on a technical foul. Idris went 3-3 at the line to give West High the 65-63 lead. Connor McCaffery sank a pair of three-pointers while Evan Flitz, who faced the Maroons as the Trojans’ quarterback, sank a three-bomb for an 82-74 advantage.
Dowling went back to the perimeter and dropped a series of three-pointers to cut the lead and provoke the ire of West coach Steve Bergman. “Bergie” called for a time-out and redirected his squad’s focus. The Trojans neared the century mark while holding off a late surge by the Maroons.
Connor McCaffery led the Trojans with 29 points followed by Devontae Lane with 23 and Patrick McCaffery with 17.
Bergie and the boys are back in action on Friday, Dec. 2, as Marian Catholic visits with a 7:30 p.m. varsity tip-off. Keokuk visits on Monday, Dec. 5, and Dubuque Hempstead’s Mustangs will gallop into the Trojans’ gym on Friday, Dec. 9.