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Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – West High boys basketball coach Steve Bergman is known as a perfectionist when it comes to evaluating his team’s performance on defense.
But even he couldn’t find anything wrong with how his team played defense in the second quarter against rival City High on Tuesday.
The top-ranked Trojans held City High to just six points in the second quarter and then cruised to 75-48 victory before a standing-room only crowd at the City High gymnasium.
“The defense in the second quarter was stellar,” Bergman said. “The rest of the game was just okay.”
West High outscored the Little Hawks 20-6 in the second quarter and led 40-20 at halftime.
City High had cut the deficit to 20-16 on a basket by 6-foot-8 senior center Jeremy Kambomba early in the second quarter.
But then West High responded with 14-2 scoring run and also ended the second quarter by scoring six unanswered points.
“We played pretty well in stretches and then there is always stuff you can figure out to do a little better,” Bergman said. “We’ve just been a little turnover prone. We have trouble running our sets. I think we ran probably half of them wrong today. So I don’t know what’s going on.
“But I thought early we just hunted the three a little hard. And I think the three is a weapon for us. But we don’t need to hunt it. It’ll just come.”
But even with all of those breakdowns, West High made 16-of-26 field-goal attempts in the first half, while City High only converted on 8-of-22 attempts.
Junior forward Patrick McCaffery led a balanced West High attack with 21 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field. The 6-foot-8 Iowa commit also had three dunks in the first half.
Senior forward Seybian Sims scored 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field and junior point guard Dante Eldridge chipped in with 16, including a game-high four 3-point baskets.
Eldridge used his quickness to repeatedly get to the basket for easy looks either for himself or for a teammate.
“It helps a lot,” Eldridge said of his quickness. “I’ve used my quickness all my life. So it’s like nothing to me.”
The 5-9 Eldridge was a key reserve for West High’s Class 4A state champion team last season. He went up against former all-state guards Connor McCaffery and Devontae Lane every day in practice, and that experience is now paying huge dividends.
Connor McCaffery is Patrick McCaffery’s older brother and a freshman on the Iowa basketball where he plays for their father, Fran McCaffery, while Lane plays basketball for Indian Hills Community College.
“I played behind good guards, so they helped me a lot,” Eldridge said. “Every day was a challenge against them.”
West High improved to 4-0 on the young season, while the Little Hawks fell to 1-2 under second-year head coach Derek Roberts.
“It got away from us a little bit,” Roberts said of the second quarter. “We fell off our game plan and lost focus a little bit.
“West is such a good team. Credit to them, they took advantage of that.”
The Little Hawks struggled to contain Eldridge’s quickness on the perimeter and the size of McCaffery and Sims in the paint.
In addition to his three dunks, McCaffery also made 6-of-8 free throws and one 3-point basket.
"He’s tough,” Roberts said of defending McCaffery. “He’s very tough. That’s why he’s a Division I player.”
As for Eldridge, he still is getting used to the City-West rivalry after moving to Iowa City two years ago. He is the son of Courtney Eldridge, who is Fran McCaffery’s video coordinator for the Iowa basketball team.
“The first City-West game was packed and I had never seen so many people before,” Eldridge said.
West High 20 20 19 16 – 75
City High 14 6 10 18 – 48
West High (75) – Patrick McCaffery 7-11 6-8 21, Seybian Sims 6-7 4-7 16, Dante Eldridge 6-11 0-0 16, Evan Flitz 3-5 2-2 9, Hakeem Odunsi 1-3 0-0 2, Dadrian Hoambrecker 3-6 0-0 6, Brayden Adcock 0-0 0-0 0, Paul McGee 0-2 0-0 0, Jayson Barnes 0-0 0-0 0, Jake Anderson 1-3 0-0 2, Jalen Gaudet 0-0 0-2 0, Cole Mabry 0-0 0-1 0, Jacob Klein 1-2 0-0 3, Lucas McCool 0-0 0-4 0, Blake Miller 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-50 12-20 75.
City High (48) – Keyshawn Christian 0-5 2-2 2, Antonio Turner 4-13 1-1 7, Luke Young 1-3 0-1 3, Ryland Threlkeld-Wiegand 3-6 1-2 9, Jeremie Kambomba 4-4 0-3 8, Carter Westlake 3-4 0-0 8, Malik Kimber 1-2 1-1 3, DeAngelo McNeil 3-6 0-1 6, Quincy Wells 0- 0 0-0 0, Liam McComas 0-0 0-2 0, Jason Allen 1-1 0-0 2, Douglas Burtch 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-44 5-13 48.
3-point goals – West High 7 (Eldridge 4, McCaffery, Sims, Flitz); City High – 5 (Threlkeld-Wiegand 2, Westlake 2, Young). Fouls – West High 12, City High 17.