Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Patrick McCaffery had just shredded Liberty High for 27 points during a 61-34 victory on Friday, but it wasn’t just his scoring that made an impresssion.
“One of our challenges was we were turning the ball over and if you get him in open court then he’s really good,” Liberty head coach Stu Ordman said of the 6-foot-8 McCaffery. “But I told Patrick after the game that I think he’s underrated as a passer.
“He actually rises up and sees the court real well. And when you do get good double teams on him, he passes out of it. He’s pretty savvy."
It probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that Patrick McCaffery is a willing and able passer since he is son of Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery and the younger brother of Iowa point guard Connor McCaffery.
Fran McCaffery was a pass-first point guard in his playing days, while Connor McCaffery plays the same role for his father now at Iowa.
So Patrick McCaffery learned that basketball is meant to be played unselfishly and he showed his unselfishness during Friday’s game.
He only took two shots and scored two points in the second quarter, but then he scored 10 of West High’s 13 points in the third quarter.
“I think I got a little tired down there and then their defense had a lot of guys in the gaps, so it kind of made it a little bit harder to create,” Patrick McCaffery said. “And plus, we had some turnovers at the beginning of the quarter, and I think that also didn’t help.
“But I think sometimes that just happens. I trust the other guys on my team to make shots. And if I’m not shooting a ton, I have a lot of confidence in them to go do that.”
West High completed the season sweep over its new border rival and improved 11-2 overall and 9-1 in the Mississippi Valley Conference. Liberty fell to 6-8 and 4-7 in conference play.
West High was leading 23-18 when McCaffery made a basket in the second quarter. It was the first of four consecutive baskets for the Iowa recruit.
McCaffery’s fourth basket during that stretch expanded the lead to 31-18, and he had scored 18 points up to that point.
The Trojans never led by fewer than 12 points for the rest of game.
“He’s got a good feel for the game,” said West High coach Steve Bergman. “I think he hit a little block of energy there and he had better energy in the third quarter than he did in the second quarter.”
Liberty High only made 14-of-42 field-goal attempts and committed numerous turnovers against West High’s suffocating defense.
But even with those statistics, Bergman had some issuesw with his team’s performance on defense.
“When you have a scout and you say that guy can only drive right and you let him drive right and he scores twice, that upsets me,” Bergman said. “But I think overall the defense was good.
“The one-three-one (zone) we didn’t come out in the third quarter very well, so we just went man and I thought did a good job then.”
West High only scored eight points in the second quarter, but three of them came on a 3-point basket by reserve guard Jacob Klein right before the halftime buzzer that expanded the lead to 23-13 at the break.
McCaffery scored his points in a variety of ways, including dunks, mid-range jumpers and in transition. The circumstances have caused him to look for his shot more as a senior, but Bergman also thinks that McCaffery’s offensive game has improved since last season.
“He’ stronger and I think he’s doing a better job,” Bergman said. “And now he’s got a little inside game where he didn’t do that last year. He has shot the three so much better this year. They have to respect his three.”
McCaffery didn’t make any 3-point baskets in Friday’s game, but he entered the game shooting 47.1 percent from behind the arc.
McCaffery and 6-8 junior center Even Brauns give West High a big and potent one-two punch on the frontline.
Brauns only took three shots and scored six points in Friday’s game, but defenses still have to respect him and that helps to create space for McCaffery.
“We wanted (McCaffery) to get in the post a little bit more against them because I think when they’re both in there, that’s hard to guard with him and Even,” Bergman said.
McCaffery said he doesn’t worry about scoring because he knows that will usually happen during the course of a game.
“Scoring is going to come,” he said. “I know I need to go in and impact the game on the defensive end, and as a leader, keep my teammates up and everything like that. I know the scoring will be there for me. I have a lot of confidence in my game. That’s never really a problem for me.
Patrick McCaffery was honored before Friday’s game for being nominated for the prestigious McDonald’s All-America game. He was accompanied at mid-court by both of his parents.
Patrick wasn’t selected to play in the all-star game, but just to be nominated meant a lot to him.
“It’s a real cool thing,” Patrick McCaffery said. “Unfortunately, I didn’t make the game. That would have been really cool. But it’s a big honor being nominated, along with all those other good players throughout the country.
“But the season is far from over. So I’m just ready to keep working and move on.”
Liberty High (34) – Isaac Bender 1-3 1-2 3, Ethan O’Donnell 4-10 0-0 9, Andre Brandon 5-12 0-0 12, Sam Funke 1-8 0-0 2, Ben houselog 1-3 0-0 3, Ira Hazeltine 1-3 0-0 3, Grayson Tyler 0-1 2-2 2, Kelby Telander 0-1 0-0 0, Bo Gryp 0-0 0-0 0, Corey Baldwin 1-1 0-0 2, Tayshaun McGhee 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-42 3-4 34.
West High (61) – Patrick McCaffery 13-20 1-2 27, Even Brauns 2-3 2-2 6, Marcus Morgan 3-5 0-0 7, Nicholas Pepin 2-5 0-0 5, Brayden Adcock 1-3 0-0 3, Jacob Klein 1-3 0-0 3, Tate Crane 0-0 1-2 1, Joey Goodman 1-2 0-0 3, Ben Vander Leest 0-1 0-0 0, Cole Mabry 3-3 0-0 6, Charlie Moreland 0-1 0-0 0, Logan Moel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-46 4-6 61.
3-point goals – Liberty 3 (O’Donnell, Houselog, Hazeltine); West High 5 (Morgan, Pepin, Adcock, Klein, Goodman). Fouls – Liberty 14, West High 8.