West High Downs CR Kennedy in Regional Opener; Sets up Rematch With West Des Moines Valley

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Photo by Rob Howe

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

IOWA CITY – Freshly ranked West High took care of business at home in its postseason opener on Wednesday.

The next stop on the road to Des Moines and the state tournament – a trip to West Des Moines.

Class 5A No. 14 West High (13-9) never trailed in a 55-44 win over Cedar Rapids Kennedy on Wednesday in a Class 5A, Region 5 quarterfinal in Iowa City.

The win was the third straight for the surging Women of Troy and setup a regional semifinal

rematch with tenth-ranked West Des Moines Valley (14-7) on Saturday at 5 p.m.

“We don’t have to be pretty, I thought it was pretty for a while and then it got ugly but we did enough stuff to survive,” West High coach BJ Mayer said. “That’s what we are going to go down there and do on Saturday and hopefully we can give them a game and find a way to advance.”

West High overwhelmed Cedar Rapids Kennedy early, building a 22-6 lead in the opening 10 minutes and held on for the 11-point win.

Junior Audrey Koch had 18 points and seven rebounds and junior point guard Matayia Tellis scored nine points and chased down 11 rebounds.

Things get significantly more difficult for West High starting Saturday at defending state champion West Des Moines which defeated West High 65-32 in West Des Moines last month.

“We are definitely excited for the challenge,” Koch said. “We are excited to play Valley again, they are a great team and I think we have a little better idea of what we need to do against them after playing them the first time.”

Tellis scored five points during a 7-0 first-quarter run by West High that stretched a 7-3 lead to a 14-3 advantage.

The Women of Troy led 14-6 after one quarter but scored the third eight points of the second on back-to-back 3-pointers by Cora Saunders and a transition layup by Tellis.

“Coach said it’s not going to be an easy road for us so we have to go out and play all 32 minutes,” Tellis said. “We just had to come out strong like we did against Marion and finish it off strong.”

West High shot 46 percent in the first half, including 6-of-13 from 3-point range, while building a 31-19 halftime lead.

Kennedy cut the lead to eight twice in the second half but could get no closer.

West High didn’t make a field goal in the fourth quarter but went 13-of-17 from the free throw line to put the game away.

“I thought early we were really good,” Mayer said. “We jumped on them early and had a 17-point lead. Give them a lot of credit they fought back and we are going to have to shore up some things but we made enough free throws down the stretch.”

Now the attention turns to West Des Moines Valley which has won seven straight, a streak that started with a 33-point win over West High on January 25.

The Tigers closed the regular season with a win over seventh-ranked Southeast Polk, the top seed in Region 5.

“They are good,” Mayer said of West Des Moines Valley. “We saw them about a month ago and they kind of handed it to us but hopefully we can go down there play with a little chip on our shoulder, try to be better and make it a game.”

West High                  14  17  11  13  –  55

CR Kennedy               6   13   9   16  –  44

West High (55) – Matayia Tellis 3-8 2-2 9, Cora Saunders 3-7 4-4 13, Liv Williams 0-1 1-2 1, Meena Tate 2-5 4-5 8, Grace Schneider 0-0 3-4 3, Carolyn Pierce 0-2 0-0 0, Jenna Saunders 1-3 0-0 3, Audrey Koch 6-11 5-8 18, Totals 15-37 19-25 55.

CR Kennedy (44) – Camryn Ray 3-7 3-7 9, Ella Cadenhead 3-5 0-0 9, Sophia Barrett 4-11 3-3 13, Grace Techau 0-3 1-2 1, Olivia Pecinovsky 0-7 0-0 0, Sadie Powell 4-11 0-0 10, Victoria Knight 0-2 0-0 0, Carlee Smith 1-4 0-0 2, Totals 15-50 7-12 44.

3-point field goals – ICW 6-17 (Tellis 1-2, C. Saunders 3-6, Tate 0-2, Pierce 0-2, J. Saunders 1-2, Koch 1-3), CRK 7-21 (Cadenhead 3-5, Barrett 2-5, Pecinovsky 0-6, Powell 2-2, Knight 0-1, Smith 0-2). Rebounds – ICW 32 (Tellis 11), CRK 30 (Ray, Powell 8). Turnovers – ICW 16, CRK 17. Total fouls – ICW 10, CRK 19. Fouled out – CRK (Cadenhead). Technical fouls – None.

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