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Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – Anyone that came to Wells Fargo Arena on Tuesday to watch Iowa recruits Joe Wieskamp and Patrick McCaffery matchup got the show they hoped for.
Wieskamp got a double-double and McCaffery got loose for a couple of highlight reel slams.
Most importantly second-ranked West High got a win and a return trip to the Class 4A state semifinals.
McCaffery scored eight of his team-high 17 points during a 10-0 run to open the fourth quarter as West High pulled away late for a 62-50 win over Muscatine (16-9) in a 4A quarterfinal.
“We just really pulled together as a group,” McCaffery said. “We have had a lot of really close games all year so we’ve really had to come together to win a lot of close tight games.”
West High (20-4) had four players in double figures and shot 54 percent from the floor but needed to hold off a second-half surge from one of the best players in state history to return to the 4A title game for the eighth straight season.
West High will face No. 9 Waukee (20-4) in semifinals on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
Wieskamp had 20 of his game-high 29 points after halftime including 11 in the third quarter as the Muskies closed a 10-point halftime lead to 38-37.
“I struggled a little bit early with my shot and I wasn’t as aggressive as I needed to be,” said Wieskamp. “I think I really picked it up the second and third quarter.”
Wieskamp scored six straight Muscatine points in the final four minutes of the third quarter, three times pulling the Muskies within a single point.
A conventional 3-point play by senior point guard Jose Melendez made it 38-37 West High after three quarter.
McCaffery and West High wasted little time putting things away.
The 6-foot-8 junior scored the first five points of the 10-0 run and his 3-pointer from the wing put West High up 48-37 with 4:48 left.
“We were really resilient and we’ve been that way all year,” McCaffery said. “We really are a close knit together group and we really came together in that huddle and we really stuck together so we could pull it out.”
McCaffery and Wieskamp both struggled out of the gate.
Wieskamp missed his first four shots and made 4-of-11 first-half field goal attempts while McCaffery had four points in the first quarter.
McCaffery got early help from the backcourt combo of Evan Flitz and Dante Eldridge.
Flitz and Eldridge combined for 19 first-half points on 7-of-9 shooting as West High took a 29-19 lead into intermission.
“I think as a team we have been maturing throughout the year,” Flitz said. “So to come out on the big stage and in front of the big crowd that they had and the with all the excitement in the arena it was great to show that maturity and show that we have progressed.”
Wieskamp quickly got Muscatine back into the game in the second half.
He scored seven points during an 11-2 run to open the second half that cut the lead to 31-30.
Leading heading to the fourth quarter West High turned to its defense.
West High held Muscatine scoreless for nearly four minutes to open the final quarter before Wieskamp converted a layup with 4:25 left.
“A lot of it was trying to limit Wieskamp and obviously he is a great player, you can’t stop him you just have to try to limit him and take him out of the game as much as possible,” Flitz said. “We put an extra defender on him and really tried to make other guys beat us.”
West High forced a pair of turnovers during its 10-0 run to open the quarter the second of which led to a thunderous two-handed dunk by McCaffery that put West High up 42-37 with 6:29 left.
“Our break is really good for us and they really took that away from us in the first half,” McCaffery said. “It was really important for us to get going again.”
After committing four turnovers in the first three quarters Muscatine had five in the final eight minutes.
“They are a team that has played together for a long time and they had some wrinkles for us that we weren’t really ready for,” West High coach Steve Bergman said. “Finally, the fourth quarter I thought we settled in and were better defensively.”
Flitz finished with 14 points while Eldridge had 12 and Hakeem Odunsi added 11, all in the second half.
West High was 7-of-12 from 3-point range and outscored Muscatine 17-6 at the free throw line.
“It was great to hit some shots early, a couple of them didn’t look like they’d ever go in and they crawled in,” Bergman said. “We have shooters, we just have to attack a certain way.”
The all-time leading scorer in 4A history, Wieskamp finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds on 13-of-24 shooting in his final game.
“He’s really meant a lot to the state,” McCaffery said. “He’s easily one of the best players in the state’s history.”
West High 12 17 9 24 – 62
Muscatine 8 11 18 13 – 50
West High (62) – Dante Eldridge 3-7 4-4 12, Evan Flitz 5-6 1-2 14, Seybian Sims 3-3 2-2 8, Hakeem Odunsi 3-8 4-4 11, Patrick McCaffery 5-10 6-8 17, Paul McGee 0-1 0-0 0, Team 19-35 17-20 62.
Muscatine (50) – Jose Melendez 2-4 1-2 5, Lex Hahn 6-8 0-1 12, Josh Hutton 1-5 0-0 2, Jackson Foulk 0-3 2-2 2, Joe Wieskamp 13-24 3-3 29, Cooper Zeck 0-1 0-0 0, Bryce Howard 0-1 0-0 0, Team 22-46 6-8 50.
3-point field goals – ICW 7-12 (Eldridge 2-3, Flitz 3-4, Odunsi 1-3, McCaffery 1-2); MUS 0-11 (Melendez 0-1, Hutton 0-3, Foulk 0-2, Wieskamp 0-4, Zeck 0-1). Rebounds – ICW 22 (Sims 7); MUS 20 (Wieskamp 11). Assists – ICW 11 (Odunsi, McCaffery 4); MUS 6 (Melendez 4). Turnovers – ICW 9; MUS 9. Total fouls – ICW 12; MUS 16. Fouled out – MUS (Hahn). Technical fouls – None.