Young Leads West Des Moines Valley Past City High in 5A Quarterfinal


Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

DES MOINES – City High held West Des Moines Valley standout Zoe Young mostly in check for the first 26 minutes of Monday’s Class 5A state quarterfinal.

It was what Young did in the final 10 minutes that proved to be the difference.

Young scored 15 of her game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to lift eighth-ranked West Des Moines Valley to a 66-59 win over No. 6 City High (19-3) in a 5A quarterfinal rematch of last season at Wells Fargo Arena.

“They are a great team and I knew they were going to come after us because of last year,” City High junior Rose Nkumu said. “I think in the end it just came down to who was going to take over for their team and Zoe delivered on that.”

Young scored the Tigers’ first seven points of overtime to help Valley (18-5) return to the state semifinals for the second time in three seasons.

A Maryland recruit, Young had a double-double with 30 points and 10 rebounds and added five assists as Valley snapped a five-game City High winning streak.

“I’ve been in situations like that before,” Young said of overtime. “We got down by a couple of points and I just told myself that I don’t want this to be my last game.”

City High got a huge performance from its own talented backcourt duo as Nkumu and Aubrey Joens combined for 44 points but it wasn’t enough to overcome the big game from Young.

The 5-foot-11 Maryland recruit didn’t score until putting Valley up 23-21 with a layup with 4:58 left in the opening half.

After Valley scored 21 points to open the game without a point from it’s senior point guard Young scored 30 of the Tigers’ final 45 points to set up a rematch with top-ranked Johnston (22-2) in the 5A semifinals on Thursday at 10 a.m.

“She is an amazing player,” Valley coach Josef Sigrist said. “She is the most talented player I have ever coached and that’s why she is going to Maryland. We do everything through Zoe. She had 30 points on the biggest stage, she had 21 in the 5A state final two years ago. We are going to go through her whether we go all the way or not.”

Nkumu scored 13 of her team-high 25 points in the opening quarter as City High took a 20-14 lead.

Valley closed the first half with an 8-2 run, with all eight points coming from Young, to take a 34-29 halftime lead.

With City High focused on slowing Young early junior Alex Honnold took advantage scoring 13 of her 15 points in the first half.

“At the beginning of the game we really keyed in on Zoe but Alex Honnold had a heck of a game in the first half,” Nkumu said. “I think that really killed us in the end.”

Valley led 44-40 after three quarters but City High opened the quarter with a 7-0 run that started with five straight points from Nkumu and ended with a driving layup by Joens that put City High up 47-44 with 6:36 left.

“I was very proud of how we came back in the second half,” City High coach Bill McTaggart said. “We were down eight and we came back and had the ball with a chance to go up five and threw it away and lost a possession and every possession is huge in a game like this.”

Valley had a chance to seal the game in regulation but Nkumu came up with big plays on both ends of the court to force overtime.

First the junior forced Young into a five-second violation with City High trailing by three with under two minutes to play.

The biggest play from Nkumu came when she grabbed an offensive rebound and nailed a 3-pointer from the win to tie the game at 57 with 30 seconds left.

“I didn’t even know we were that close and that it would tie it,” Nkumu said. “I thought we were down four so we’d get a quick three and call a timeout and then try to get a steal. It’s just the mentality that if you are open you have to shoot it in these games.”

Young missed a potential game winning jumper in the lane but made up for her miss in overtime.

She scored five straight points to open the extra session as Valley held City High scoreless for nearly three minutes to open overtime.

“We had a couple of shots that went in and out and Young kid of took over the overtime,” McTaggart said. “She is a very good player.”

City High drew as close as 62-59 on a layup by Joens with 1:08 left but Young scored on a driving layup on the ensuing possession and Honnold iced the game with two late free throws.  

“They did a good job of getting to the basket and finishing or drawing fouls,” Joens said. “We didn’t make all the shots we needed to down the stretch.”

Nkumu finished with 25 points, six steals, four assists and four rebounds for City High while Joens had 19 points and six steals.

Valley shot 52 percent from the field compared to 38 for City High and outscored the Little Hawks 14-6 at the free throw line but committed 19 turnovers.

“This first one is always the toughest,” Sigrist said. “We kept plugging away and found a way in the end against a really good team.”

West Des Moines Valley       14  20  10  13  9  –  66

City High                                    20   9   11  17  2  –  59

City High (59) – Rose Nkumu 8-18 4-4 25, Eviyon Richardson 0-5 0-0 0, Ella Cook 2-8 0-0 4, Paige Rocca 1-5 2-2 5, Aubrey Joens 9-18 0-1 19, Andie Westlake 2-4 0-0 6, Totals 22-58 6-7 59.

West Des Moines Valley (66) – Zoe Young 11-18 4-5 30, Grace Plummer 3-7 1-2 9, Hayley Chappell 2-2 2-2 8, Shea Fuller 1-6 0-1 2, Alex Honnold 5-8 5-6 15, Jasmine Spann 0-1 2-2 2, Totals 22-42 14-18 66.

3-point field goals – ICH 9-32 (Nkumu 5-11, Richardson 0-2, Cook 0-5, Rocca 1-5, Joens 1-6, Westlake 2-3), WDV 8-17 (Young 4-6, Plummer 2-5, Chappell 2-2, Fuller 0-4). Rebounds – ICH 24 (Cook 7), WDV 33 (Young 10). Assists – ICH 10 (Nkumu 4), WDV 12 (Young 5). Turnovers – ICH 11, WDV 19. Total fouls – ICH 16, WDV 9. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.

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