IOWA CITY — One guy is going to have to get stitches. Another guy will have to get checked for a concussion before being allowed to play or practice again.
A third guy already was injured in practice and sat out.
Battered but not beaten could best describe these Cedar Rapids Washington Warriors after they literally toughed out a 57-55 boys’ basketball road win Tuesday night at Iowa City West. This is Wash’s first victory since 2011 over a school that has had the longest run of success in Class 4A in the state over the last decade or so.
West has multiple state championships and has been a state tourney qualifier 10 years in a row, but it’s a bit of a down year for the Trojans (4-7), thanks to a pretty inexperienced lineup and a couple of COVID-19 pauses that have hampered development.
But that’s not going to make this win mean any less for Washington (12-7). The last time Wash beat West was when Wes Washpun (the former UNI star and professionnal player in the U.S. and Europe) banked in a running 30-footer at the horn.
That was Jan. 4, 2011.
“I knew it’d been awhile,” Washington Coach Justin Decker said. “A long time.”
“They’ve been in a slump because of COVID,” said Washington’s Traijan Sain, one of three sophomore starters on this team. “They’ve been off twice. But it’s still a good feeling coming in and getting a big win like this, especially heading into substate. We’re trying to build up as much momentum as possible. Especially with a first-round bye, you’ve got a long break before that first game. So I would definitely say it felt good, definitely would say it felt good for Coach Decker, too.”
Proclivity from the beyond the arc was the reason West led most of this game. The Trojans were 10 of 19 from deep, with freshman Kareem Earl splashing four in a 16-point night, and 6-foot-8 junior center Pete Moe knocking down a pair in a game-high 19-point performance.
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Washington’s leading scorer, Quincy Underwood, sat most of the first half after butting heads with a West defender in the first half that caused his upper right eye to get cut and bleed all over the court. He came back in midway through the third quarter with his driving bucket tying things at 51-51 with 3:40 left in the game.
The teams went back and forth with the lead down the stretch. A Sain three-point play off a transition bucket gave Wash a 54-53 lead with 1:06 left, but a Moe putback gave West the lead right back. Jaden Harris, another sophomore starter, hit a shot with 35 seconds left to give Washington the lead for good, 56-55.
Sain blocked a Grahm Goering attempt underneath the basket off an inbounds play, with Underwood rebounding, getting fouled and making one of two free throws with 10.8 left. Savion Taylor airballed a corner trey attempt for West, with Sain being fouled with just under three seconds to go.
Sain missed a one-and-one, with Moe grabbing the rebound, hesitating for a second and getting it to Earl, who let go a shot from past midcourt that banked in ... barely after the final buzzer.
“I think the biggest thing was when guys were down, other guys stepped in,” Decker said. “We didn’t start off well, even when those two guys were in. But when Quincy Underwood goes down, they were ready, next man in. I think that’s just what we need down the stretch. We’re trying to play our best basketball of the year right now, like everybody. To get a performance like this, after we got something similar the other night against Liberty that means something. We’re finding a way to win the close ones that the last couple of years we haven’t been able to win.”
Reserve guard Wyatt Cain took an elbow to the face in the second half and didn’t play the rest of the game. Freshman guard Will Hodges injured a knee in practice and is day to day.
Sophomore guard Jesse Sellers led Washington with 14 points, followed closely by Sain (13) and Underwood (11).
Washington is a second seed in a 4A substate that features top-ranked Cedar Falls. The postseason begins for 3A and 4A clubs Monday.
AT IOWA CITY WEST
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C.R. WASHINGTON (57): Henry Clymer 1-5 2-2 4, Quincy Underwood 5-8 1-2 11, Traijan Sain 5-9 3-4 13, Jaden Harris 3-6 0-0 7, Jesse Sellers 5-10 0-0 14, Wyatt Cain 2-3 4-4 8, Omoro Crusoe 0-0 0-0 0, Bryce Brim 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-41 10-12 57.
IOWA CITY WEST (55): Kareem Earl 6-9 0-0 16, Pete Moe 8-13 1-1 19, Savion Taylor 2-7 0-0 6, Grahm Goering 1-4 0-0 2, Christian Barnes 4-11 0-0 9, Mikey Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Andrew Tauchen 1-2 0-0 3, Antoine Tellis 0-1 0-0 0, Luc Baguma 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-47 1-1 55.
Halftime — West 29, Washington 25. 3-point goals — Washington 5-16 (Clymer 0-2 Underwood 0-1, Sain 0-3, Harris 1-4, Sellers 4-6), West 10-19 (Earl 4-5, Moe 2-3, Taylor 2-7, Barnes 1-3, Tauchen 1-1). Rebounds — Washington 22 (Underwood 7), West 21 (Moe 6) Total fouls — Washington 8, West 13. Fouled out — Goering. Turnovers — Washington 10, West 10.
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