Jeff Yoder Photo / iagameday.smugmug.com
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – As Patrick McCaffery finished outlining the objectives for defending his friend and future Iowa teammate Joe Wieskamp the West High junior let out a laugh.
What McCaffery had just explained as a suitable goal for slowing the Muscatine senior standout seemed a little funny.
“We have to make sure that he gets 25 or 30 and not 50,” McCaffery said. “If he gets 50 all of a sudden then we are in trouble.”
Limiting an opposing player to 25 or 30 points isn’t normally the plan for a team with the resume of West High.
Than again Wieskamp isn’t exactly your normal opponent.
Wieskamp enters state tournament play averaging 33.7 points and 13.5 per game and has scored 40 or more points in five games this season.
Second-ranked West High (19-4) takes its shot at slowing one of the top scorers in state history when it faces Wieskamp-led Muscatine (16-8) in a Class 4A state tournament quarterfinal at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
“It sounds funny to say holding him to 25 or 30 but honestly that’s realistic because he’s going to get that many because he’s that good,” McCaffery said. “Hopefully we are able to contain him enough to get a win.”
Making its eighth consecutive state tournament appearance against a Muscatine squad that hasn’t been at state since 2002 West High has experience, depth and the front court duo of McCaffery (20.6 points per game) and senior Seybian Sims (14.6 ppg) on its side.
The Muskies have Wieskamp.
A versatile 6-foot-6 sharpshooter who enters the state tournament with 2,347 career points and more than 900 career rebounds.
Wieskamp has 19 double-doubles in 23 games this season and has scored at least 30 points 16 times.
“You just have to limit him,” West High coach Steve Bergman said. “You aren’t going to shut him out obviously you just have to try to limit him.”
Part of what makes Wieskamp so dangerous is he doesn’t have an obvious weakness.
Wieskamp can score efficiently from all three levels.
He ranks second in the state in free throw attempts (242), shoots 35 percent from 3-point range and is 10th in the state in offensive rebounds (93).
“It’s hard to pin-point because he doesn’t just do one thing great he does a lot of good things,” Sims said. “A lot of people compare him to AJ (Green), they say he’s a bigger AJ and I kind of agree with that a little bit. It’s hard to stop him with his step back and stuff like that but you can’t guard him away from the basket because he will take you to the hole.”
West High has experience defending Wieskamp.
He scored 28 points in an 83-44 substate final loss to West High last season.
Wieskamp had just eight points in the first half of that game as West High built a 36-17 halftime lead.
“We did a good job on him last year,” Bergman said. “He had eight at half. We relaxed a little bit in the second half but we did a good job.”
There is a reason the West High game plan starts with slowing Wieskamp.
No other Muscatine regular averages more than nine points per game or shoots better than 42 percent from the field.
Slowing Wieskamp is the top focus but keeping the rest of the Muskies in check is a close second.
“It’s not necessarily how we limit him it’s more how we limit the people around him,” McCaffery said of Wieskamp. “Last year I think he had 28 but the rest of his team only had like 15 points. You know he is going to get his but we just have to make sure we limit everyone else around him and try to keep him under control as best as we can.”