West High Takes Down Second Unbeaten, Top-Ranked Team in Three Days With Win Over 4A No. 1 Marion


Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

IOWA CITY – What a week for West High.

A week that started with a postponed gamed and lots of waiting ended with back-to-back wins over unbeaten and top-ranked teams in a span of less than 48 hours.

In its first game in nearly a week Class 5A No. 10 West High knocked 5A top-ranked City High from the list of the unbeatens with a 65-51 win on Thursday.

Less than two full days later West High took down another number one, snapping 4A top-ranked Marion’s 41-game winning streak with a 43-32 win in a non-conference matchup of defending state champions in Iowa City.

“This was a really crucial stretch for us,” West High senior point guard Lauren Zacharias said. “Our legs are dead but we all knew what we were supposed to do and what we had to accomplish and we were able to get it done.”

West High never trailed Saturday while improving to 13-3 on the season with its fifth straight win.

Marion dropped to 15-1 on the season with its first loss since falling to North Scott in the 2017 4A title game.

“Our kids have really embraced those challenges,” West High coach BJ Mayer said of facing back-to-back top-ranked teams. “It’s pretty easy to get up for City High no matter how high they are ranked and Marion has a phenomenal program. They are so well coached, they have a lot of great players and we have the utmost respect for them.”

Cailyn Morgan scored a game-high 14 points and sophomore Matayia Tellis added 12 but for the second consecutive game it was all about defense for West High.

After holding City High to a season-low scoring output on Thursday West High followed the same formula on Saturday smothering a potent Marion attack.

The 32 points for Marion were less than half of the Indians’ season average and 22 fewer than their previous season low.

“I don’t think we had a different mindset coming into tonight, they are a really good team and we knew they were undefeated and we wanted to come out with the same approach we had against City,” Morgan said. “Our first priority was to play defense on Kayba (Laube) and (Riley and Randi) Wright and their main shooters.”

West High bolted to a 9-1 lead five minutes into the game and led 11-9 after the opening quarter.

The Women of Troy scored the first seven points of the second quarter to take its biggest lead of the game at 18-9 and led 22-13 at the half.

“With a team like that, they lead a lot and they win by large margins they struggle a little bit if things don’t go their way,” Mayer said. “I thought they handled that pretty well for the most part but we were able to answer every run.”

Marion got as close as 33-30 on a pair of free throws by Riley Wright with 5:09 left but West High responded with a driving layup by Audrey Koch and a Tellis layup to stretch the lead back to seven.

Marion never got closer than five the rest of the way.

“I think we were still on a high from the City High game coming into this one and we knew this was another good team,” Morgan said. “We wanted to come out with the same approach that we did last time and we stuck to our game plan.”

The plan for West High was to take away Marion all-state guard Kayba Laube who entered averaging a team-high 17.1 points per game.

Tellis spent most the game chasing Laube all over the court while holding the 5-foot-9 junior to seven points on 1-of-9 shooting.

You could see why we were trying to take Kayba away because we just thought she was really good,” Mayer said. “Matayia just did a phenomenal job on her.”

West High limited Marion to 23 percent shooting including just 5-of-25 from 3-point range.

“I’ve thought all year long we were able to score I just wasn’t sure we were able to defend and the last two games we’ve bought in and really defended,” Mayer said. “Marion averages a bunch and it’s really good to see our kids start to come together and hopefully be playing their best basketball.”

Koch added nine points and 11 rebounds for West High while Zacharias had six points and 10 boards.  

“We’ve been lacking a little bit on defense but these last couple of games we have really kicked it into gear and it’s really benefitted us a lot,” Zacharias said. “For us seniors winning at home our last game against City was really motivating for us and beating the number one team in 4A is really great.”

West High      11  11  9  12  –  43

Marion            9    4   9  10  –  32

West High (43) – Cailyn Morgan 6-11 1-1 14, Matayia Tellis 4-8 4-6 12, Lauren Zacharias 3-14 0-1 6, Emma Ingersoll-Weng 1-5 0-3 2, Sydney Allen 0-3 0-0 0, Audrey Koch 4-7 1-2 9, Totals 18-48 6-13 43.

Marion (32) – Leah Van Weelden 2-7 2-2 8, Randi Wright 1-3 0-0 2, Riley Wright 3-8 3-4 9, Sophie Willette 0-6 0-0 0, Kayba Laube 1-9 4-4 7, Ella Van Weelden 2-7 0-0 6, Totals 9-40 9-10 32.

3-point field goals – ICW 1-9 (Morgan 1-2, Tellis 0-1, Zacharias 0-4, Ingersoll-Weng 0-1, Koch 0-1), MAR 5-25 (L. Van Weelden 2-7, Ra. Wright 0-1, Ri. Wright 0-3, Willette 0-2, Laube 1-5, E. Van Weelden 2-7). Rebounds – ICW 31 (Koch 11), MAR 31 (Ri. Wright 7, Willette 7). Turnovers – ICW 11, MAR 18. Total fouls – ICW 13, MAR 14. Fouled out – MAR (Ri. Wright, Ra. Wright).

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