Koch Ignites Rally and Zacharias Hits Game Winner as West High Downs Cedar Rapids Prairie

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

IOWA CITY – It was one of the rising stars on a young West High roster that kept the Women of Troy in the game in the second half on Friday.

With the game on the line it was the veteran that sealed the deal.

Sophomore Audrey Koch scored 12 of her game-high 23 points in the second half but it was senior point guard Lauren Zacharias that provided the game winner.

Zacharias snapped a 53-all tie with a runner in the lane with four seconds left to lift seventh-ranked West High (2-0) to a 55-53 win over No. 9 Cedar Rapids Prairie in the Mississippi Valley Conference opener for both teams at West High.

“I really wanted to drive and score because personally I hate overtime,” Zacharias said. “I knew that we had to get a bucket and I saw an opportunity and I went for it.”

The driving basket from Zacharias capped a back-and-forth second half that saw Cedar Rapids Prairie (1-2) lead by as many as seven on three different occasions.

Koch tied the game at 53-all with a pair of free throws with 1:47 left and following a Prairie turnover West High held for the last shot.

As the clocked ticked under 10 seconds Zacharias beat her defender into the lane a buried a six-footer from the right side of the lane with four seconds left.

She then tipped away the ensuing Prairie inbounds pass as West High survived.

“Lauren has been in that situation since she has been a freshman,” West High coach BJ Mayer said. “We were trying to get a ball screen for Cailyn (Morgan) and she could either roll or pop and we had Audrey sitting in the corner waiting. You are going to go with the experience right now, and I thought all of our kids played pretty well, but you can’t go wrong when you have those three kids all out there.”

Zacharias finished with 12 points while Morgan had 13 to go with 23 from Koch.

That trio combined for 26 of West High’s 29 second-half points.

“We’ve all taken on very different roles this year with all the seniors we lost from last year,” Koch said. “My teammates did an amazing job getting me open, passing the ball and being patient.”

West High led 15-13 after one quarter and 26-25 at the half.

Prairie came out firing after halftime and threatened to pull away behind the guard play of Sarah Schmitt and Sidney McCrea.

McCrea and Schmitt each hit a pair of 3-pointers in the opening five minutes of the second half as Cedar Rapids Prairie built a seven-point lead.

“We talked about calling a timeout but it’s early and I wanted our kids to play through some things,” Mayer said. “Later in the year we might have taken a timeout to weather that storm but I wanted to see what we had.”

Prairie led 44-37 after a Hailey Cooper turnaround in the paint with 2:27 left in the third quarter but it was Koch that pulled West High back into the game.

The 5-foot-10 guard scored 10 of her career-high 23 points in the third quarter, scoring eight unanswered points over the final 2:10 to give West High a 45-44 lead.

Koch had 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to cut the lead to 44-43 and scored on a putback with 54 seconds left in the quarter to give West High it’s first lead of the second half.

“She is a great playmaker for us,” Zacharias said. “She knows that she has to shoot the ball and she can all sorts of things. For her to come out as a sophomore and make big plays that is really beneficial for us.”

Prairie made one final push, scoring six unanswered points to take a 53-51 lead on a pair of free throws by Schmitt with 2:55 left.

West High buckled down defensively, forcing three Prairie turnovers and holding the Hawks scoreless for the final 2:55.

“That is the way that it’s going to be in our league, there are a lot of really good teams and I think we have a chance to be one along with a bunch of other teams,” Mayer said. “We got stops, we made some shots and we were able to pull it out at the end.”

McCrea led Prairie with 18 points while Schmitt added 15 and both grabbed eight rebounds. 

West High                              15  11  19  10 –  55

Cedar Rapids Prairie          13  12  19   9  –  53 

West High (55) – Cailyn Morgan 6-18 1-5 13, Matayia Tellis 2-6 0-0 5, Lauren Zacharias 5-10 2-2 12, Emma Intersoll-Weng 1-6 0-0 2, Sydney Allen 0-3 0-0 0, Audrey Koch 7-9 7-7 23, Team 21-52 10-14 55.

Cedar Rapids Prairie (53) – Sarah Schmitt 412 4-6 15, Sidney McCrea 5-8 4-6 18, Makenna Moenk 2-5 0-0 4, Mallory McDermott 2-7 2-3 6, Rachael Kilpatrick 0-0 1-2 1, Hailey Cooper 2-2 1-1 5, Quin Deahl 2-7 0-0 4, Team 17-41 12-18 53.

3-point field goals – ICW 3-16 (Morgan 0-4, Tellis 1-3, Zacharias 0-3, Ingersoll-Weng 0-2, Allen 0-1, A. Koch 2-3); CRP 7-14 (Schmitt 3-7, McCrea 4-4, McDermott 0-3). Rebounds – ICW 32 (Koch, Zacharias 6); CRP 29 (Schmitt, McCrea 8). Turnovers – ICW 10, CRP 13. Total fouls – ICW 13, CRP 15. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.