Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – On the eve of West High’s postseason opener Steve Bergman had the uneasy feeling that his top perimeter shooter was slipping into a slump.
Nick Pepin eased his head coaches’ concerns early in Friday’s Substate semifinal against Davenport West.
Pepin made five first-quarter 3-pointers and finished with 20 points as fourth-ranked West High (16-4) rolled to a 74-39 win over the Falcons in a Substate 6 semifinal at West High.
“He’s shooting 55 on the year so he can shoot it but yesterday at practice he did not make one shot, he just didn’t make any shots,” Bergman said of Pepin. “It was kind of frustrating with me thinking ‘this is a bad time to get in a slump’ but he obviously didn’t have a slump today.”
Pepin went 5-of-6 from 3-point range in the first quarter, all coming in the opening six minutes, as West High raced to a 17-2 lead.
The junior guard was 6-of-8 from 3-point range in the opening half helping the Trojans take a 40-19 lead into the lockerroom at halftime.
“The first one felt good and after that I just let the game come to me,” Pepin said. “My teammates they found me so give credit to them for finding me when I was hot.”
Patrick McCaffery had a double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds and West High shot
58 percent from the field while advancing to take on No. 10 Davenport Central (16-6) in the substate final on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Muscatine.
“I think that is a strength for our team this year is we are really patient and we don’t take a lot of bad shots, I might let one loose every once in a while but for the most part we are pretty good at taking good shots,” McCaffery said. “Being smart and being able to take care of the ball and move the ball and make the right play has been important for us.”
Davenport West opening the game in a 2-3 zone, with multiple players crashing hard on McCaffery every time he touched the ball in the paint.
The sagging zone created open opportunities from the perimeter and Pepin took advantage.
“When we see a zone it’s second nature to us that we are about to completely destroy it,” Pepin said. “We are going to make them get out of the zone.”
Pepin hit his first 3-pointer 22 second into the game and added another with 5:20 left to put West High up 7-0.
“We haven’t seen zone for a few weeks, we mostly see man-to-man,” Pepin said. “When they collapse in the middle the corners are wide open and that’s what got me open. As soon as they collapse everything spreads out and we got it going. We had good ball movement and it felt good every time I let it go.”
The Trojans were deliberate against the zone early, taking their time and setting up good shots.
They made most of them and it was Pepin that did most of the damage as West High went 6-of-10 from 3 in the opening quarter.
“We literally haven’t seen zone for weeks, we didn’t practice it at all yesterday because we were trying to save a little energy so I thought it would be better to have an hour-long practice and play with some more energy,” Bergman said. “The way we attack zone it’s hard to find the shooters and we have plenty of them.”
McCaffery, who ranks third in 4A in scoring with 25.6 points per game, had just three points in the first quarter but West High still led 22-4 after the opening eight minutes.
“We haven’t seen a lot of it all year so when we saw a zone Nick’s eyes kind of lit up,” McCaffery said. “He hit a couple early and once he saw the first couple go in they all just started falling.”
West High shot 68 percent in the first half and went 7-of-13 from 3-point range while building a 12-point lead.
McCaffery closed the door, scoring 15 of his game-high 25 points in the second half.
Malik Westerfield led Davenport West with 13 points while Aldane Barrett had eight points and 10 rebounds.
West High (74) – Jacob Klein 1-4 0-0 3, Brayden Adcock 1-2 0-0 2, Tate Crane 2-3 0-0 4, Joey Goodman 2-5 0-0 4, Nick Pepin 7-10 0-0 20, Marcus Morgan 1-5 2-2 5, Patrick McCaffery 10-13 4-6 25, Ben Vander Leest 0-1 0-0 0, Even Brauns 3-3 3-4 9, Logan Moel 1-1 0-0 2, Totals 28-48 9-12 74.
Davenport West (39) – Elijah Hollingshed 0-7 0-0 0, Malik Westerfield 6-13 0-0 13, Logan Petersen 0-1 0-0 0, NaZion Caruthers 3-6 0-0 6, Zach Trevino 0-4 1-2 1, John Michael Thornton 2-4 0-0 4, Quenton Dempsey 0-1 0-0 0, Jamil Haymond 3-13 0-0 7, Aldane Barrett 4-6 0-2 8, Totals 18-55 1-4 39.
3-point field goals – ICW 9-25 (Klein 1-4, Adcock 0-1, Crane 0-1, Goodman 0-2, Pepin 6-9, Morgan 1-5, McCaffery 1-2), DW 2-16 (Hollingshed 0-6, Westerfield 1-3, Petersen 0-1, Trevino 0-1, Thornton 0-1, Dempsey 0-1, Haymond 1-3). Rebounds – ICW 29 (McCaffery 11), DW 31 (Barrett 10). Turnovers – ICW 9, DW 14. Total fouls – ICW 7, DW 11. Fouled out – DW (Barrett). Technical fouls – None.
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