Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Three consecutive first-quarter three-pointers from Lauren Zacharias got West High off to a strong start offensively in its first game following the holiday break.
The early offensive success provided a nice boost but that wasn’t what Zacharias was focused on Friday.
That distinction belonged to the defense.
“We’ve struggled communicating on defense this year and so we are really trying to make that our focus,” Zacharias said. “We can get anything we want on offense it’s just communicating on defense and we know we have to pick it up on that end.”
It took a little time but Class 5A No. 11 West High was stingy enough on defense on Friday to start 2019 with a win.
Zacharias scored 15 of her game-high 21 points in the first half and West High forced 13 turnovers over the final three quarters on its way 63-47 win over Linn-Mar in a Mississippi Valley Conference Valley Division matchup in Iowa City.
West High led 13-12 after one quarter but held Linn-Mar (4-7, 2-3) to six points on two field goals in the second quarter while opening up a 10-point halftime lead.
“We really struggled defensively over break, it was like we forgot how to play defense,” West High coach BJ Mayer said. “We had some scrimmages where it was not pretty so we went back to some basics. We aren’t quite there yet, we lost (Alexis) Beier, (Carly) Printy and (Macey) Miller too many times and we did enough to get the W but we have to get better.”
Audrey Koch scored all 15 of her points in the second half and West High had three other players with at least seven points while improving to 7-2 on the season and 4-1 in MVC play.
“The other thing that I really like about our team is that we share the ball so well,” Mayer said. “We got 21 out of Lauren but then Audrey had another good game and we got eight or 10 out of three or four others.”
Coming off a two-week layoff the offensive numbers were solid for West High.
The Women of Troy shot 49 percent from the field and had just seven turnovers in the first three quarters.
It was the defense that was the question coming in.
After allowing the Lions to score 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting in the opening quarter West High clamped down while outscoring Linn-Mar 38-20 in the second and third quarters.
Guards Macey Miller and Carly Printy combined for nine points in the first quarter but managed a combined eight points on 2-of-9 shooting over the final three quarters.
“We realized that we needed to stop Miller from getting into the lane and keep a hand up on Printy,” Zacharias said. “Realizing that those were their two main scorers and keeping them from scoring the rest of the half really helped us.”
Zacharias scored the first nine points for West High, hitting three 3-pointers in a span of less than three minutes to give West High a 9-5 lead.
A putback basket by senior Sydney Allen with two seconds left in the opening quarter gave West High a 13-12 lead.
The second quarter was all West High.
The Women of Troy outscored Linn-Mar 15-6 in the third quarter and held the Lions to just three points before Beier hit a 3-pointer that just beat the halftime buzzer.
“We slapped some press on to increase the tempo,” Mayer said. “Emma (Ingersoll-Weng) brings a lot of energy and Matayia (Tellis) brings a lot of energy and those two came off the bench tonight and gave us a lot of energy which we are going to need.”
Zacharias and Koch led the way offensively but as usual had plenty of help.
Senior Cailyn Morgan had eight points while Ingersoll-Weng and Allen each had seven.
“We aren’t a team that has one or two players that have to do everything on offense,” Zacharias said. “We are more of a team that does it together. That’s how we are, we want everyone involved.”
West High (63) – Cailyn Morgan 4-11 0-0 8, Matayia Tellis 1-6 3-4 5, Lauren Zacharias 9-14 0-0 21, Emma Ingersoll-Weng 2-6 2-3 7, Sydney Allen 3-4 0-0 7, Audrey Koch 6-10, 2-5 15, Team 25-51 7-12 63.
Linn-Mar (47) – Keegan Krejca 0-2 0-2 0, Macey Miller 3-6 4-4 11, Molly Chmelicek 1-2 1-2 3, Jamison Feldman 0-1 2-2 2, Hallie Peak 0-2 0-1 0, Alexis Beier 7-10 1-1 20, Marissa Miller 0-1 0-0 0, Caelynn Obleton 0-1 0-0 0, Carly Printy 2-8 0-0 6, Emma Casebolt 2-2 0-0 5, Team 15-35 8-12 47.
3-point field goals – ICW 6-15 (Morgan 0-3, Tellis 0-2, Zacharias 3-4, Ingersoll-Weng 1-4, Allen 1-1, Koch 1-1), LM 9-21 (Mac. Miller 1-3, Feldman 0-1, Peak 0-1, Beier 5-7, Obleton 0-1, Printy 2-7, Casebolt 1-1). Rebounds – ICW 31 (Koch 7), LM 19 (Mac. Miller 5). Turnovers – ICW 12, LM 18. Total fouls – ICW 13, LM 10. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.