Morgan and Pepin Come up Big as West High Returns to State Tournament


Photo by Jeff Yoder

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

MUSCATINE – Patrick McCaffery will close his storied prep career with a fourth consecutive showing at the state tournament.

The all-time leading scorer at West High can thank a couple of state tournament rookies for helping him earn his final trip to Wells Fargo Arena.

Marcus Morgan and Nick Pepin combined for 34 points as fourth-ranked West High returned to the trip to the state tournament for the ninth year in a row with an emphatic 72-46 win over No. 10 Davenport Central (16-7) in the Substate 6 title game on Tuesday at Muscatine.

“Marcus and Nick, both of them are gamers. When the lights are the brightest that’s when they show up,” McCaffery said. “They’ve done that all year, they’ve done it every big game.”

McCaffery did his usual damage on Tuesday, posting a double-double with a game-high 26 points and 10 boards.

However, it was Morgan and Pepin that set the tone early in their first substate finals.

Pepin scored the first five points of the game and Morgan had 11 of his career-high 19 in the first quarter as West High (17-4) took an 18-12 lead after one quarter without a point from its senior leader McCaffery.

“It takes a ton of pressure off of me when Marcus is hooping like that and same with Nick, that is huge for us,” McCaffery said. “You can’t help extra on guys like me and Even (Brauns) if they are out there doing their thing and getting buckets and Marcus came out and had some big ones in the first quarter and we needed all of them.”

Morgan scored all 11 of his first-quarter points in the final 5:30.

He started the string with a conventional 3-point play and buried a pair of 3-pointers in the final four minutes as West High built a six-point lead.

“It always helps to get off to a good start, it sort of sets the tone for the game and makes them have to claw themselves back,” Morgan said. “Having that control over the game helps.”

The 6-foot-2 sophomore who entered Tuesday averaging just shy of seven points per game had 13 in the first half and finished 7-of-11 from the field as West High shot 55 percent as a team.

“Marcus had a great game and we ran our sets really well and we got ourselves a lot of easy baskets,” West High coach Steve Bergman said. “For a substate game that beats those two or three pointers.” 

Pepin, Morgan and senior Brayden Adcock average a combined 17.7 points per game on the season but accounted for all 18 of West High’s first quarter points on Tuesday.

That trio finished with 36 points on 13-of-23 shooting.

“You need three or four guys contributing offensively and we had that,” Bergman said. “Then the guys that aren’t contributing as much offensively are playing great defense.”

 It was only a matter of time before McCaffery got rolling and once he did West High put the game away quickly.

After a scoreless first quarter McCaffery scored 13 points during a 19-3 West High run to open the second quarter.

“When we started to get going they started to look at us more and when they did that we had Even and Patrick open,” Pepin said. “We all started to click.”

Davenport Central could never get closer than 16 points the rest of the way.

Pepin hit a pair of third-quarter 3-pointers and finished with 15 points after scoring a career-high 20 in a substate semifinal win on Friday.

A 55 percent 3-point shooter on the season Pepin is 9-of-14 from beyond the arc in two postseason games.

“When one person doesn’t have it going another person steps up and takes that role and once one person gets going we all start to get going,” Pepin said. “It’s a wonderful feeling to all be able to do something on the offensive end.”

Morgan put the finishing touches on the win when he finished a baseline drive with a two-handed slam while drawing a foul midway through the fourth quarter.

“There were a lot of emotions obviously,” Morgan said. “I was really amped up to get out there and play.”

Keshawn Pegues led Davenport Central with 14 points and five rebounds and John Miller and Josh English each had seven points for the Blue Devils.

West High                  18  19  15  20  –  72

Davenport Central    12   8   10  16  –  46

West High (72) – Jacob Klein 0-1 0-0 0, Brayden Adcock 1-3 0-0 2, Tate Crane 0-1 0-0 0, Joey Goodman 2-2 0-0 4, Nick Pepin 5-9 2-2 15, Marcus Morgan 7-11 3-4 19, Patrick McCaffery 11-22 3-3 26, Even Brauns 3-6 0-0 6, Totals 29-55 8-9 72.

Davenport Central (46) – Emarion Ellis 1-5 2-6 4, Amari Porter 1-6 0-0 2, Josh English 3-5 0-0 7, John Miller 2-7 3-3 7, Kaiden Phillips 1-2 1-2 3, Keshawn Pegues 6-12 2-3 14, Diontrel Wommack 2-2 0-0 4, Ralph Hayes 0-1 0-0 0, Dajion Greer 2-2 0-1 5, Javari Terrell 0-1 0-0 0, Totals 18-44 8-15 46.

3-point field goals – ICW 6-15 (Klein 0-1, Adcock 0-2, Pepin 3-5, Morgan 2-3, McCaffery 1-4), DC 2-15 (Ellis 0-2, Porter 0-3, English 1-2, Miller 0-2, Phillips 0-1, Hayes 0-1, Greer 1-1, Terrell 0-1). Rebounds – ICW 34 (McCaffery 10), DC 23 (Ellis, Pegues 5). Turnovers – ICW 9, DC 12, Total fouls – ICW 12, DC 16. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.

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