West High Defense Stifles West Des Moines Dowling in Season Opener


Photo by Rob Howe

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

IOWA CITY – Coaches warn their teams about this type of game all season.

The game where shots aren’t falling, points are at a premium and defense is the difference.

It didn’t take long for West High to have that type of game but the Trojans were ready when it came.

West High overcame some early offensive struggles with a strong defensive showing in a 43-28 win over West Des Moines Dowling on Tuesday in the season opener for both teams at West High.

“We’ve been harping on defense in practice and we do that every year at West High but we’ve come to practice and focus on defense,” West High senior Tate Crane said. “It showed tonight and that’s good.”

West High missed 12 of its first 15 shots and played the final 14 minutes of the first half with returning leading scorer Even Brauns on the bench with two fouls.

The Trojans did more than enough to make up for it on the defensive end forcing Dowling into 24 turnovers and limiting the Maroons to 31 percent shooting from the floor.

“We had some missed opportunities and Even went out early and that hurt us on offense but it’s really great that we had our defense to fall back on,” Crane said. “That’s what we are always going to try to focus on is defense.”

Marcus Morgan scored 14 of his game-high 21 points in the second quarter fueling a 11-3 West High run to close the half.

The Trojans limited Dowling to 19 percent shooting on just 16 field goal attempts in the first half by forcing 13 turnovers.

The hot shooting of Morgan in the second quarter was enough to give West High a 25-12 halftime lead and Dowling never got closer than 12 points the rest of the game.

Morgan hit his first shot of the game, a 3-pointer 54 seconds in that put West High up 5-0.

The 6-foot-3 junior guard missed his next four shots as West High made one of its final 12 shot attempts of the first quarter.

“We had more of a defensive game plan going in than an offensive game plan,” Morgan said. “Offensively we knew we had to go in and run our stuff and get good looks out of it and if we stayed solid on defense we would be fine.”

Led by Morgan the Trojans got some separation in the second quarter.

Morgan hit all four of hits field goal attempts, including three consecutive 3-pointers to open the quarter while building a 19-12 lead.

West High then closed the half on a 6-0 run that featured five points from Morgan.

While Morgan got West High going the Trojans didn’t let Dowling get anything on offense.

West High held the Maroons to 1-of-9 shooting in the quarter while building a 25-12 halftime lead.

“I thought the first half Christian Barnes and Charlie Moreland and Ben Vander Leest those guys got us through it,” West High coach Steve Bergman said. “It looked pretty ugly on offense but Marcus was really, really good in the first half but those guys stepped up and really kept us in it.”

Brauns scored all eight of his points in the second half as West High put the game away.

The Trojans didn’t allow Dowling to score more than eight points in a single quarter and kept the Maroons without a made 3-pointer in the game.

West High also held a 28-26 rebounding edge over the taller Maroons thanks to nine rebounds from Crane including seven offensive boards.

“We knew they had a taller lineup going in so that was a big thing for us was to rebound,” Crane said. “Rebounding just comes down to effort and that is something we’ve focused on a lot.”

Nick Pepin and Crane each finished with five points for West High while Matt Riedl and Drew Daniel each had seven points for Dowling.

West High                                 8  17  12  6  –  43

West Des Moines Dowling       5   7    8   8  –  28

West High (43) – Christian Barnes 0-1 0-0 0, Charlie Moreland 0-1 0-0 0, Tate Crane 2-5 1-2 5, Joey Goodman 2-4 0-0 4, Nick Pepin 2-15 1-2 5, Marcus Morgan 5-11 7-7 21, Ben Vander Leest 0-3 0-0 0, Even Brauns 3-4 2-2 8, Team 14-44 11-13 43.

West Des Moines Dowling (28) – Michael Keough 0-1 0-0 0, Matt Stilwill 1-8 2-2 4, Joe Strako 0-1 0-0 0, Ryan Riggs 2-5 2-2 6, Matt Riedl 3-6 1-1 7, Drew Daniel 3-5 1-2 7, Omaha Biliew 2-8 0-0 4, Will Yurgae 0-1 0-0 0, Team 11-35 6-7 28.

3-point field goals – ICW 4-18 (Moreland 0-1, Crane 0-1, Goodman 0-1, Pepin 0-6, Morgan 4-7, Vander Leest 0-2), WDD 0-9 (Stilwill 0-1, Strako 0-1, Riedl 0-3, Daniel 0-2, Biliew 0-1, Yurgae 0-1). Rebounds – ICW 28 (Crane 9), WDD 26 (Riedl 5). Turnovers – ICW 16, WDD 24. Total fouls – ICW 12, WDD 16. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – WDD (Biliew).

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