MUSCATINE– West High coach Steve Bergman always gives you a straight assessment and pulls no punches. Following the Trojans’ substate final win Tuesday, Feb. 28, over Bettendorf, he summed up his squad’s performance.
“There were things out there I didn’t like, but you know, we’re undefeated and going to the state tournament. We have a team that can go down there and do well.”
West controlled the game from the start, taking the first period 19-12 with a trio of three-pointers from Wyatt Lohaus, Jake Gylten and Jeremy Morgan. A Tavian Smith buzzer-beating field goal put the punctuation mark on the period.
The Trojan attack continued in the second as Dondre Alexander came alive, putting up 10 points and leading the charge to a 37-22 halftime lead. In the third, things got a little loose for a few minutes.
“We got a little silly on offense, when you get the lead so much, you know, we’ve had that all year. You get a 15, 18 point lead and you start to get a little loose,” Bergman said. “But, I’m uptight.” West took the period 50-32 with Smith pulling off a layup from a steal, and a three-pointer from Morgan. Myzeah Batie-Gaddy opened the half with a layup as well.
Bulldog fouls sent Alexander, Morgan, Batie-Gaddy and Austin Swank to the free throw line in the fourth period. With a 67-38 lead, the reserves took the floor. Melvin Chatmon, Jason Stewart, Mark Lowe, Reid Bonner and Richard Bryant saw game time. Josh Verry, Justin Fleming and Drew Haas entered the game in the final minute.
“We got everybody in,” Bergman said.
The game turned out to be easier than Bergman anticipated. “I give our defense credit, and I thought (Tavian) Smith was…unbelievable. He had a heck of a game for us; he stepped up and gave us a boost.” The Trojans’ cohesion, Bergman said, has earned them a 23-0 record and No. 2 seed going into the state tournament.
“The beauty of our team, I think, is we are a team.”
Alexander had a game-high 19 points, Morgan had 11. Smith and Gylten put up nine points each, Lohaus had an eight point night, Swank posted seven points, Batie-Gaddy had four and Bryant had one.
West takes the court in the Wells Fargo Arena in downtown Des Moines Wednesday, March 7, at 8:15 p.m. to face Waukee– a team they beat in round 1 of the 2011 state tournament – in Class 4A quarterfinal round action. A win puts them back in action Friday, March 9, at 3:15 p.m. The 4A championship game will be played Saturday, March 10, with an 8:05 p.m. tip-off.