Photo by Jeff Yoder
Your Prep Sports
No. 4 West High (16-4) vs. No. 10 Davenport Central (16-6)
When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.
Where: Muscatine High School
Top Players: West High – Patrick McCaffery, 6-9, Sr., 25.6 points, 7.6 rebounds; Even Brauns, 6-9, Jr., 11.4 points, 5.7 rebounds.
Davenport Central – Keshawn Pegues, 6-3, Sr., 18 points, 8.8 rebounds; Josh English, 6-3, Sr., 10.4 points, 3.6
About the Trojans: Defending 4A runner-up West High is seeking a ninth consecutive trip to the state tournament after reaching the state title each of the past three seasons.
During its eight-year string of state tournament appearances West High has been nothing short of dominant in substate finals.
The Trojans had won seven straight substate finals by at least 20 points before a 49-40 win over Cedar Rapids Kennedy last year has won its last eight substate finals by an average of 24.6 points.
West High dropped its regular season finale at Cedar Rapids Prairie on February 16 but shot 58 percent and looked sharp in a 74-39 substate semifinal win over Davenport West.
The Trojans have one of the state’s best in 6-foot-8 senior Patrick McCaffery (25.6 ppg) but will need to get contributions from others to extend their state streak.
Juniors Even Brauns (11.4 ppg) and Nick Pepin (7.5 ppg) along with sophomore Marcus Morgan (6.9 ppg) are all capable of picking up any scoring slack.
About the Blue Devils: While West High has been a state tournament regular over the last decade Davenport Central is trying to get back to Des Moines for the first time since 2008.
The Blue Devils won eight straight to open the season but are just 8-6 since after losing four of their final six to close the regular season.
Davenport Central rebounded from its late season losses to rally back Cedar Rapids Kennedy 61-56 in the substate semifinals on Friday.
Four of the six losses for Davenport Central this season have come to top-ranked North Scott and third-ranked Bettendorf so the Blue Devils are no stranger to strong competition.
The Blue Devils are balanced with four players averaging double figures led by senior forward Keshawn Pegues at 18 points per game.
Josh English (10.4), Kaiden Phillips (10.4) John Miller (10.2) and Emarion Ellis (8.9) all score more than eight points for the game for the Blue Devils.
What to Watch: Can Davenport Central find a way to slow Patrick McCaffery?
The Blue Devils aren’t going to stop McCaffery, the 6-foot-8 Iowa recruit is simply too good at too many things to be stopped especially in the biggest game of the season.
What’s the old saying? You can’t stop him you can only hope to contain him?
That has to be the thought process for Davenport Central, contain McCaffery.
In West High’s four losses this season McCaffery has been contained, averaging 17.3 points in those games and scoring more than 20 points just once.
Averaging 17.3 points per game is great for most players but considering McCaffery has scored at a 27.7 point per game clip in the Trojans 16 wins holding him to 17 is a win.
The key for Davenport Central on Tuesday is holding McCaffery somewhat in check. For West High if McCaffery doesn’t have his usual big game are the rest of the Trojans able to come through as they have in regular season wins over Linn-Mar and Dubuque Senior.
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