Scheels Athlete of the Week: Koch Builds Confidence With Career-best Effort Against Cedar Rapids Prairie

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Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

IOWA CITY – With the length of a post player and the skills of a guard West High sophomore Audrey Koch is a nightmare of a matchup.  

The really frightening thought for opposing defenders, beside the fact that Koch will be around for two more seasons, is that that Koch just keeps getting better.

“I think the more I play and have a chance to be on the floor the more comfortable I get,” Koch said. “It goes back to just building that confidence.”

The idea that the 5-foot-10 Koch can get much better than she was last Friday against Cedar Rapids Prairie is down right scary for future opponents.

Koch had a career-high 23 points on 7-of-10 shooting in the 55-53 win over ninth-ranked Prairie.

She hit two 3-pointers and grabbed seven rebounds in the win that pushed seventh-ranked West High to 2-0 on the season.

“We’ve seen it from her,” West High coach BJ Mayer said. “We are going to need things out of her and I think we all know that is what she is capable of doing.”

Koch flashed her sky hit potential last season as a freshman when she came off the bench to average 4.8 points and 2.6 rebounds per game for 5A state champion West High.

In her first season of varsity action Koch was efficient, shooting 48 percent from the floor including 43 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.

With the graduation of a pair of senior starters from last year’s state title team Koch knew she would be in for a larger role as a sophomore.

In preparation she spent the summer working on her jump shot in an effort to become a more complete offensive player.  

“I worked with my dad and my sister a lot on shooting 3s,” Koch said. “I still worked on getting my post moves in and worked on getting to the rim but the biggest thing was working on shooting from the outside.”

When older sister Emma Koch was lost for the season with a knee injury the role the younger Koch was expected to fill got even larger.

So far this season Koch has been up to the task in filling that role.

Through two games Koch is averaging a team-high 15 points and eight rebounds per game while shooting 59 percent from the field.

“She is being more aggressive,” Mayer said. “Late last year and early this year she tried to defer to older kids and didn’t want to take over but we’ve talked to her about trying to be more assertive and trying to get to the rim and when they back off hitting the 3 as well. The more she is able to do that the more confident she is going to be.”

Confidence was a key for Koch in her career-best outing against Cedar Rapids Prairie.

She connected on her first three field goal attempts and had seven points in the opening quarter.

“I think it’s definitely a confidence booster especially getting a few shots up right away and making one or two,” Koch said. “That makes the game a little more relaxed.”

The quick start built confidence in what turned into a huge game against the Hawks.

Now Koch and Mayer believe that 23-point, seven-rebound outing is the confidence boost that can push Koch to the next level for the rest of the season.

“We’ve all taken on much bigger roles with all the seniors we lost and Emma being out,” Koch said. “Having a game like this I think is something that I can build on and that we can all build on going forward.”