Iowa City West edges Prairie, and the schedule just gets harder

Girls basketball: No. 3 Women of Troy in a grueling stretch

IOWA CITY — The gauntlet has arrived, and Iowa City West has elected to embrace it.

“It’s going to be fun,” Emma Koch said. “They’re all going to be super high-intensity games.”

This one certainly fit the bill, and Class 5A third-ranked West was able to hold off No. 10 Cedar Rapids Prairie, 58-53, in a non-conference girls’ basketball game between the Mississippi Valley Conference rivals Friday night at West High School.

Friday’s game marked challenge No. 3 of a seven-game stretch in which all of West’s opponents are ranked. It gets no easier in the near future. Defending state champion West Des Moines Valley awaits Saturday, then it’s No. 1 Iowa City High, No. 2 Cedar Falls and Illinois big-school No. 1 Motini Catholic next week.

“It’s a very daunting task,” West Coach B.J. Mayer said. “Playing a lot of really good teams like this, it’s something the kids will remember. It should be a lot of fun ... just go play basketball.”

West (11-3) grabbed this one behind a 40-22 rebounding advantage. The Women of Troy were just a little too long for the Hawks (9-5).

“They were a really good rebounding team, and we don’t have a lot of big bodies,” Prairie’s Sarah Schmitt said.

Logan Cook, a University of Iowa signee, paced West with 15 points. Koch added 14 points and 13 rebounds.


“We knew we were going to have to rebound if our shots weren’t falling,” Koch said.

West led by 15 points with just under six minutes to go, then held on. Prairie’s Mallory McDermott drained a 3-pointer — her fifth of the game — to bring the Hawks within 53-50 at the 1:19 mark, then West made 5 of 6 free throws to clinch it.

Prairie possesses one of the state’s top backcourts, and the trio of McDermott (18), Schmitt (16) and Sid McCrea (13) combined for 47 points. Schmitt added eight boards and four assists.

Prairie led through the first 10 minutes — twice by as many as six points — before the Women of Troy put on a run to grab the lead.

Rachael Saunders scored eight straight points, six to start the second quarter to flip momentum. West outscored the Hawks 15-4 in the second period for a 27-20 halftime advantage.

“They ended the half with a 7-0 run and they beat us by five,” Schmitt said. “That killed us.”

A Creighton recruit who returned to action after Christmas (she tore an ACL at last year’s state tournament), Saunders scored 11 points, all in the first half.


At Iowa City West

C.R. PRAIRIE (53): Sarah Schmitt 5-13 4-6 16, Sid McCrea 4-9 4-6 13, Mallory McDermott 5-11 3-4 18, Rachael Kilpatrick 0-1 0-0 0, Halle Person 2-5 0-1 4, Makenna Moenk 1-3 0-2 2, Quinn Deahl 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-43 11-19 53.


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IOWA CITY WEST (58): Cailyn Morgan 2-6 4-4 8, Lauren Zacharias 3-9 1-2 7, Rachael Saunders 4-7 2-3 11, Logan Cook 6-16 1-2 15, Emma Koch 4-8 6-7 14, Paige Beckner 1-3 0-0 3, Audrey Koch 0-0 0-0 0, Maytayia Tellis 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-49 14-18 58.

Halftime: West 27, Prairie 20. 3-point goals: Prairie 8-19 (Schmitt 2-6, McCrea 1-3, McDermott 5-8, Person 0-1, Moenk 0-1), West 4-14 (Morgan 0-2, Zacharias 0-5, Saunders 1-1, Cook 2-5, Beckner 1-1). Team fouls: Prairie 17, West 15. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Prairie 22 (Schmitt 8), West 40 (E.Koch 13). Assists: Prairie 9 (Schmitt, McCrea 4), West 5 (Saunders, A.Koch 2). Steals: Prairie 3 (Kilpatrick 2), West 5 (Morgan, Zacharias 2). Turnovers: Prairie 7, West 12.

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