Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
Coming off a pair of seasons that produced a combined nine wins City High was in need of some early success to start year three under head coach Derek Roberts.
The Little Hawks found just that with back-to-back non-conference road wins in a span of three days last week.
City High opened the season with a win for the first time since 2015 with a 58-15 win at Muscatine and defeated Fort Madison 73-30 on Saturday to start 2-0 for its first 2-0 start since 2012.
“Our first two opponents were maybe aren’t the level of what we will see night in and night out in the MVC but to our guys credit they could play to the level of our competition or they could play to the level we are trying to hold them and I think they’ve held themselves to that level,” Roberts said. “We are proud of them in that aspect.”
Two games into the season the sample size is small but Roberts likes the way his team has gotten to 2-0 as much as the results.
Senior point guard Antonio Turner is the only Little Hawk averaging double figures with 21 points per game but five other City High players average between 4 and 9.5.
More important to Roberts is the fact that the Little Hawks have 40 assists on 52 field goals and are shooting 48 percent from the field in two wins.
“Team chemistry goes so far,” Roberts said. “We have a group of 10 seniors that are really dialed in with each other and that helps so much. They’ve been around us the last two years and so they know what to expect and that urgency that you have as a senior I think there is a little different feeling with that than what we had the last two years.”
The offensive statistics sparkle so far but the biggest turnaround two games into the season has been on the defensive end.
City High allowed 64 points per game during a five-win season a year ago but gave up just 45 points total in consecutive wins to open the year.
“I think we were 40th or something in defense last year so the entire offseason there has been a big focus on defense,” Roberts said. “We changed schematically a couple of things but more
about it is just sticking to the process.”
After failing to hold a team under 50 points in 22 games a year ago City High has allowed 30 or fewer in back-to-back games to open the season.
The Little Hawks have given up double digits in a quarter just twice in two games and haven’t allowed more than 12 points in any quarter.
The 15 points City High allowed in its opener was a single school record, topping the 22 points the Little Hawks gave up in a 40-22 win over Cedar Rapids Kennedy in 2012.
“You see the results happen but it’s because of the last 12 months that these kids have put in,” Roberts said. “They have stuck to the process and believed in what we are trying to do.”
The level of difficultly spikes significantly going forward, starting on Friday against cross-town rival and defending 4A runner-up West High.
City High starts a three-game home stretch with its first meeting of the season with West and hosts Dubuque Wahlert and Liberty High the following week.
“It’s going to be a great challenge with a couple of great players that they have over there and the tradition they have,” Roberts said. “Our guys will be fired up and the next couple days we have to focus on us and keep improving and take it one day at a time. They are a rival, they are good competition but we are going to keep comparing like we have been and stick to the process.”
Milestone for McCaffery: Patrick McCaffery entered the season needing just two points to reach the 1,000-point mark for his career.
As expected McCaffery blew past 1,000 points in his first opportunity this season.
McCaffery cracked 1,000 points with 28 points in a season-opening win at West Des Moines Dowling last week joining his older brother Connor as a 1,000-point scorer at West High.
Two games into his senior season the 6-foot-9 McCaffery is averaging 27 points per game.
Good Gould: It hasn’t taken long for West Branch freshman Thomas Gould to show he belongs at the varsity level.
Gould has scored in double figures in three consecutive games to open his varsity career while shooting a stagger 72 percent from the field in three West Branch wins.
The 6-foot-1 freshman is averaging 13.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game through three career games and had a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double in a win over Northeast.
Performances of the Week: Clear Creek Amana sophomore TJ Bollers had 19 points and 12 rebounds in a 70-65 win over Mount Vernon.
West Branch senior Brady Lukavsky had 21 points, six rebounds and two assists in a 68-43 win over Anamosa.
Regina junior Masen Miller 20 points and five bounds in a 64-62 win over Tipton
West High senior Patrick McCaffery had 26 points and 13 rebounds in a 65-54 win over Grand View Christian.
City High senior Antonio Turner had 23 points and two assists in a 58-15 win over Muscatine.
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