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Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Peaking at the right time, saving the best for last or surging late.
Regardless what phrase you prefer they all fit what West High did last week on its way to the Class 5A state championship.
No player was better at coming up big at the right time during the West High title run than junior Cailyn Morgan.
Morgan scored in double figures in all three state tournament games and was named to the 5A all-tournament team after averaging 14.7 points per game.
The 5-foot-9 junior guard reached double figures in the final four games of the season as ninth-ranked West High won four consecutive games over top-10 teams to win its second state title in program history.
“I think she was playing her best at state but she was really good in the Pleasant Valley game also,” West High coach BJ Mayer said. “She was really good defensively and I think she played very well offensively as well.”
Morgan had a strong junior season averaging 9.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in her first season as a full-time starter.
It was at state where Morgan had her breakthrough.
She scored a team-high 20 points in a quarterfinal win over third-ranked West Des Moines Dowling and followed it up with 14 points and six rebounds in a semifinal win over Indianola.
“Everyone did their part,” Morgan said. “I’m just happy we did it and we did it as a team.”
Morgan capped her strong state tournament with 10 points, two rebounds and two assists in a 56-45 win over top-ranked City High in the 5A title game.
In three state tournament wins Morgan averaged 14.7 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.7 steals.
She was 15-of-18 at the free throw line at the state tournament helping West High put away games late.
“We came together and we said we have to do this together as always,” Morgan said of the late game situations. “We knew we could do it but we had to do it together.”
While her offensive number stand out Morgan did her best work at the state tournament on the defensive end of the court.
Faced with the chore of chasing some of the best players in the state in Dowling sophomore Caitlin Clark, Indianola’s Maggie McGraw and Grace Berg and City High’s Ashley and Aubrey Joens the senior guard was a huge key in West High’s defensive game plans.
“Cailyn was face guarding people all week,” Mayer said. “We had her chasing some of the best players in the state all over the court and she was great. All of our kids did their jobs defensively.”
Morgan helped West High hold opponents to 47.7 points per game at state.
West High held Dowling to 53 points, its second lowest output of the season and limited City High to a season-low 45 points.
In all three games Morgan was at the center of the West High defensive effort.
“We focused on defense all week,” Morgan said. “We knew that our defense was going to be what won us games and we had to play our best defense against these teams.”