Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – West High didn’t have to wait long for a chance to avenge its only loss of the season.
When the Trojans saw an opportunity late in the fourth quarter of its rematch with Mississippi Valley Conference rival Linn-Mar to do just that they took advantage.
Patrick McCaffery scored a game-high 22 points and Even Brauns and Brayden Adcock both hit a pair of free throws in the final 49 seconds as Class 4A fifth-ranked West High rallied late for a 57-55 win over Linn-Mar in an MVC Valley Division tilt in Iowa City.
The was the third straight for West High since a 65-54 loss at Linn-Mar on December 14.
“After we lost to them I think we all wanted that game back and I know I wanted this one bad,” McCaffery said. “Coming off the break I knew that this game we would be more prepared and I think we were.”
After shooting 42 percent from the floor in the loss to the Lions last month West High (7-1, 4-1) shot 57 percent from the field on Friday but it was the Trojans defense late the lead to a comeback.
A steal and conventional three-point play by senior Jaren Nelson gave Linn-Mar (3-4, 3-3) a 55-53 lead with 2:07 left.
The Lions had the ball and a two-point lead with under a minute to play but wouldn’t score again.
“I don’t think we were great on defense all game but we just defended really solid the last couple of possessions,” McCaffery said. “We made them take tough shots.”
It started with McCaffery contesting a Greg Hall drive to the rim with 50 seconds left.
The 6-foot-9 McCaffery altered the shot from Hall and Brauns was fouled grabbing a rebound with 49 seconds left and hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 55.
On the ensuing Linn-Mar possession senior standout Trey Hutcheson couldn’t get a contested layup to fall and Brauns grabbed his team-high seventh rebound.
“I wanted Even in with the tie score because he can change some shots and he is a rebounder,” West High coach Steve Bergman said. “I thought our defense wasn’t very good at times but it was pretty good the last couple of possessions.”
The Hutcheson miss led to a transition layup attempt for Adcock who was fouled and hit a pair of free throws with 20 seconds left to give West High the lead.
“I was trying to get to the basket,” Adcock said. “I just my head down and tried to get to the hoop.”
Linn-Mar had one final attempt to win or send the game to overtime but senior center Hayden Passmore was just long on a 12-foot jumper over Brauns.
“We just stayed solid,” McCaffery said. “They got some nice action and got the ball to their five man with a few seconds left and got forced into trying to make a play. Even did a great job of staying in front of him.
Neither team led by more than four points in a first half that ended tied at 28.
West High opened the second half with a 10-3 run that featured back-to-back 3-pointers by junior Nick Pepin that made it 38-31 with 4:49 left.
Linn-Mar needed just 32 seconds to respond with an 8-0 run of its own as Nelson and John Steffen hit 3-pointers around a pair of Hutcheson free throws following a West High technical foul.
“My frustration is we just came off two weeks of working on execution and we did it in stretches, we had a seven-point lead, came out of the locker room and played really well and then did nothing right for three minutes and gave it all away,” Bergman said.
Linn-Mar led 43-42 after three quarters and threatened to pull away twice in the fourth.
The Lions led 48-42 after a Hutcheson layup but Marcus Morgan answered with a 3-pointer for West High.
The Lions took a 50-45 lead with under five minutes to play but junior Tate Crane buried a 3-pointer that started an 8-0 West High run that gave the Trojans a 53-59 lead with 3:38 left.
“Every time I was driving I was drawing two or three people so I was able to kick the ball out and I have confidence in those guys to hit those shots,” McCaffery said. “That was huge because not only does that give us points in this game but in games knowing forward teams see they can’t help off to much because guys will hit shots.”
Brauns finished with 10 points while Morgan had seven and Pepin six for West High.
Hutcheson led Linn-Mar with 15 while Steffen added 11 and Passmore had 10.
West High (57) – Jacob Klein 0-1 0-0 0, Brayden Adcock 1-5 2-2 5, Tate Crane 2-2 0-0 5, Joey Goodman 0-1 2-2 2, Nick Pepin 2-3 0-0 6, Marcus Morgan 3-4 0-0 7, Patrick McCaffery 8-13 5-10 22, Even Brauns 4-6 2-2 10, Team 20-35 11-16 57.
Linn-Mar (55) – Brady Klahn 0-3 0-0 0, Jaren Nelson 2-3 3-3 8, Greg Hall 3-7 0-0 7, Trey Hutcheson 5-15 2-2 15, John Steffen 4-6 1-1 11, Hayden Passmore 4-7 2-2 10, James Nelson 2-2 0-0 4, Team 20-43 8-8 55.
3-point field goals – ICW 6-12 (Klein 0-1, Adcock 1-4, Crane 1-1, Pepin 2-3, Morgan 1-2, McCaffery 1-1), LM 7-14 (Nelson 1-1, Hall 1-3, Hutcheson 3-6, Steffen 2-4). Rebounds – ICW 21 (Brauns 7), LM 19 (Passmore 5). Turnovers – ICW 13, LM 12. Total fouls – ICW 15, LM 19. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – ICW (McCaffery), LM (Passmore).