Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Cailyn Morgan has taken her offensive game to another level this season.
A four-year regular in the West High lineup Morgan is averaging a career-best 14 points per game, has scored double-digits in all but one game and leads West High in free throw attempts and makes.
None of that is what makes Morgan most valuable for the defending 5A champion and 5A tenth-ranked Women of Troy.
Morgan does her best and most important work on the defensive end of the court.
“I think I’m a good defensive player so that is always going to be my first goal is to play good defense whether or not I am doing well on offense,” Morgan said. “I have kind of gotten used to that role and it’s kind of stuck with me.”
Morgan has evolved into the top defender for a West High team that has long been one of the top defensive teams in the state under head coach BJ Mayer.
The 5-foot-9 senior guard has the length to guard players in the post and the athleticism to go with it to chase guards around the perimeter.
That versatility makes Morgan the center point of every defensive game plan Mayer puts together.
“Having Cailyn’s versatility to be able to guard 1-5 gives us a lot of options defensively,” Mayer said. “She can guard anyone and we have other kids that can come out and defend different places and that makes us able to pretty tough defensively.”
Last season Morgan was pivotal during West High’s run towards the 5A state title.
Morgan averaged 14.7 points per game at the state tournament but her work on defensive in all three games stood out even more.
She has carried that success on both ends of the court over to this season.
“I think this season I am in the same spot playing wise but I’m trying to be more of a leader with all the younger kids we have on the team,” Morgan said. “I do think I am playing my best this season.”
Morgan was at her best last week as West High pulled off its two biggest wins of the season in a span of less than 48 hours.
In an upset of top-ranked City High on Thursday Morgan had 17 points and held Aubrey Joens to a season-low seven points, 16 fewer than her season average.
“She’s had her nights where she is scoring 22 or 23 points but she understands what we are talking about with both offense and defense,” Mayer said. “She guarded Aubrey the other night and did a great job. Without her we aren’t winning that game.”
Morgan turned around on Saturday and scored a team-high 14 points in a win over Class 4A top-ranked and unbeaten Marion.
Against Marion Morgan was integral in holding the Indians to a season-low 32 points which was half of their season scoring average.
“Against City High I felt really good, I felt very confident after that game,” Morgan said. “The last few games I have felt really comfortable both offensively and defensively. I think I’ve been playing my best.”
After averaging 9.8 points per game as a sophomore Morgan ranks third on the team in scoring at 14 points per game this year and ranks second on the team with 5.6 rebounds per game.
She has 25 steals, a team-high nine blocked shots and leads West High in free throw attempts (74) and makes (54)
“Her and Lauren (Zacharias) have both been basically playing four straight years I think early Cailyn and Lauren basically kind of felt like they had to do a little bit more,” Mayer said. “They struggled with their shooting percentages a little but you are going to go to bat with those kids that have been there and we feel really good about those two leading us.”
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