DES MOINES– The Capitol City has proven to be a good venue for Iowa City West High so far in 2012. First, The Women of Troy struck gold in Des Moines at the Girls State Basketball Tournament, and then it was the boys’ turn as the Trojans under the leadership of Steve Bergman took to the polished hardwood of the Class 4A Boys State Basketball Tournament.
Bringing in a perfect 23-0 record, the Trojans dominated through all three games to give West two basketball titles this year.
The championship campaign started Wednesday, March 7 with the late game against the Warriors of Waukee. Jeremy Morgan led West to a 74-52 win with 15 points followed by Dondre Alexander’s lucky 13. Myzeah Batie-Gaddy and Austin Swank put up a dozen points each, while Wyatt Lohaus had ten and Jake Gylten scored nine. Jason Stewart came in off the bench late in the game, adding a basket and a free throw for three points total.
The first period ended in an 11-11 tie but West pulled ahead with a 17-point second quarter to build a 28-21 lead at the half. In the third, the Trojans pounded the Warriors, out-scoring them 26-11 for a 54-32 advantage going into the final eight minutes. Although the Warriors matched West with 20 points in the period, West’s lead was never threatened and Bergman’s boys lived to fight another day.
Waukee’s season ended with a 17-7 record.
Friday afternoon (March 9), the Trojans faced a dangerous Linn-Mar squad led by arguably the best prep basketball player in the state, Marcus Paige. West bested the Lions 75-63 back on Dec. 9 in the Lions’ den. Paige has averaged 28 points per game, and led the Lions Friday with 24. But, it wasn’t enough, as West won again, 71-51. Alexander led all scorers with 27 points followed by Lohaus with 13, 11 from Gylten, and Batie-Gaddy’s ten. Morgan and Swank each had five points in the Semifinal Round game.
The Trojans pulled out a slim 15-13 lead in the first and were up by one, 22-21, at the half. The back-and-forth battle continued in the third with West up by two, 40-38, going into the fourth period. West, playing as the “home” team, treated the Wells Fargo Arena floor as their own, defending it and unleashing a withering rampage upon the Lions with 31 points in the period to Linn-Mar’s baker’s dozen.
The Lions retired with a 20-5 record. And were denied a repeat of last year’s Class 4A Championship.
Saturday night (March 10), West faced the Black Raiders of Sioux City East. The Raiders got past Valley of West Des Moines on Wednesday 66-60, and disposed of #1 seeded Ankeny in double-overtime Friday afternoon 60-56. Sioux City East came into the tournament as the #4 seeded team while West was the #2 seed.
The Trojans came out on fire, and proceeded to scorch the Black Raiders early-on, taking the first eight minutes with an impressive 20-9 lead. Morgan did yeoman’s duty with 13 points in the period including a trio of three-bombs and four shots from the foul line. By halftime the Trojans were up 39-23. After three periods of play, West was still ahead with a 52-33 advantage. Alexander delivered another one of his trademark, crowd-pleasing slam dunks as part of a four field goal battery by the Trojans.
Reserves owned the floor in the final three minutes with the Trojans still up by 18, 61-43. The guys in green held on easily for the 67-52 victory and the Class 4A Championship.
Morgan out-scored everybody on the floor with 26 points including the three-point shots and 11 free throws. Alexander put up 14 points, Swank had nine, and Lohaus put up seven. Gylten added five points while it was two points each for Batie-Gaddy, Tavian Smith and Mark Lowe.
The Trojans will lose Bryant and Gylten to graduation while the rest of the line-up is expected to return next season.