Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – West High sophomore guard Matayia Tellis is known mostly for her quickness and tenacity on defense, but she showed on Friday that her game is expanding.
The 5-foot-5 Tellis showed her offensive prowess during a 71-26 victory over Liberty High by scoring 13 points, all of which came in the first half. She also made three 3-point baskets and played her usual stellar defense.
“Sometimes, I don’t try to shoot, but tonight it was like I’m going to give it a try,” said Tellis, who made 5-of-8 shots from the field.
West High coach B.J. Mayer has been encouraging Tellis to be more aggressive on offense. Tellis entered Friday’s averaging just six points per contest.
“He’s been telling me I need to shoot more and focus on that since my defense is already there,” Tellis said. “I work on it in practice and I like to ask him how I can get better. And he just works with me and basically just tells me to drive more.”
Tellis actually did most of her damage from long distance in Friday’s game. She made her first shot from 3-point range and that set the tone on offense as the Women of Troy made eight 3-point baskets.
Tellis also has the luxury of playing alongside star senior point guard Lauren Zacharias. So Tellis knows that if she gets open, Zacharias will get her the ball.
“She’s a wonderful passer,” Tellis said of Zacharias. “I have more confidence than I ever did.”
Tellis missed a couple games earlier in the season due to injury, but she showed no effects of that on Friday.
“She’s been a little banged up for us and missed a couple games,” Mayer said. “So we’re trying to get her back to speed. She has a lot of defensive tenacity. But if she can start getting to the rim and makings threes, that just makes us tougher to defend.
Tellis was among four West High players who scored in double figures on Friday. Sophomore forward Audrey Koch led the way with 21 points, while Zacharias and senior Cailyn Morgan finished with 11 points apiece.
The Women of Troy made 28-of-50 field-goal attempts, while Liberty only made seven baskets on 31 attempts.
West High was leading 8-5 when Zacharias made a 3-point basket with 4 minutes, 50 seconds left in the first quarter. Her basket triggered a 21-0 scoring run that lasted for the rest of the first quarter.
The game never was competitive after that as No. 11 West High improved to 6-2 on the season. Liberty fell to 2-7.
Liberty High (26) – Jenna Saunders 1-5 1-2 4, Cora Saunders 1-11 2-2 5, Kayli Baldwin 2-4 0-0 5, Megan Davis 1-2 0-0 3, Sam McPherson 3-5 3-4 9, Haley Napoli 0-1 0-0 0, Cecily Johnston 0-1 0-0 0, Neshy Byrd 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 7-31 6-8 26.
West High (71) – Cailyn Morgan 5-8 0-0 11, Matayia Tellis 5-8 0-0 13, Lauren Zacharias 4-7 0-2 11, Sydney Allen 2-5 2-6 6, Audrey Koch 8-12 5-5 21, Emma Ingersoll-Weng 0-2 0-0 0, Avery Vest 2-6 0-0 4, Katelynn Hillberry 2-2 0-0 5, Rylee Goodfellow 0-0 0-0 0, Liv Williams 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-50 7-13 71.
3-point-goals – Liberty 4 (Jenna Saunders, Cora Saunders, Baldwin, Megan Davis); West High 8 (Matayia Tellis 3, Lauren Zacharias 3, Morgan, Hillberry). Fouls – Liberty 12, West High 15. Fouled out – Allen, Ingersoll-Weng.