Prep Basketball

Behind Tyler Andrews, Cedar Rapids Kennedy boys' basketball upends 3A No. 10 Xavier

Linn-Mar transfer leads all scorers with 23 points as Cougars beat Saints, 56-46

Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Tyler Andrews, pictured during a game earlier this season, is second on the Kennedy boys’ basketball team with 18.2 points per contest following his transfer from Linn-Mar. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Kennedy’s Tyler Andrews, pictured during a game earlier this season, is second on the Kennedy boys’ basketball team with 18.2 points per contest following his transfer from Linn-Mar. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Tyler Andrews has emerged as a bona fide scoring threat for the Cedar Rapids Kennedy boys’ basketball team.

The 6-foot-6 junior guard — who transferred from Linn-Mar after his sophomore year — is five games into a varsity career that has been productive from the start. When paired with fellow junior Jack Wetzel, it gives the Cougars a lethal 1-2 scoring punch.

“I guess I was just feeling it tonight,” Andrews said after leading all scorers with 23 points as the Cougars downed Class 3A No. 10 Cedar Rapids Xavier, 56-46, in a Mississippi Valley Conference game Tuesday night at Kennedy High School.

Xavier (3-3, 1-3 MVC) used a 13-0 burst to claim an 18-9 lead early in the second quarter, but Andrews scored 15 points during a 24-6 Kennedy explosion that gave the Cougars a 33-24 halftime lead. Andrews capped the burst with a 3-point heave from well beyond the half-court stripe that beat the halftime horn.

“It felt good, it looked good, so it went in,” Andrews said.

Andrews now averages 18.2 points per game this season for Kennedy (3-2, 2-2), while Wetzel – who was limited to two first-half points by Xavier defensive stalwart Quinn Schulte – finished with 14 and continues to lead the Cougars with 21.4 points per contest.

“We’re not a very experienced varsity team,” said sixth-year Kennedy Coach Jon McKowen, who recorded his 300th win in a career that included stops at Ottawa (Kan.) and Cedar Falls NU High. “We’ve got pieces that have played a lot of varsity basketball, we’ve got pieces that are, if they’re not totally new to playing varsity, they’re new to their role and having the ball in their hands a lot more. Every game, every practice is a huge growth right now.”

Xavier got as close as four points at 50-46 with about a minute to go, but a traditional 3-point play from Wetzel and his three additional free throws closed out the game.

Kennedy made 58-percent of its shots, including 6 of 10 from 3-point range.

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Sophomore Jaylon Moses made three 3-pointers and scored 10 points off the bench for Xavier, which hosts Iowa City High on Friday.

Kennedy will also be in action on Friday when it entertains Cedar Rapids Jefferson.

After Friday, both teams are off until Jan. 4.

AT CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY

Cedar Rapids Kennedy 56, Class 3A No. 10 Cedar Rapids Xavier 46

C.R. XAVIER (46): Tre McCrary 1 2-3 4, Bryson Bastian 2 0-0 5, Davis Wagner 2 4-4 8, Jacob Beckmann 3 0-0 9, Mitch Helmkamp 0 0-0 0, Quinn Schulte 1 0-0 2, Nick Hansel 3 0-0 6, Jaylon Moses 3 2-3 10, Matt Jordebrek 1 0-0 2, Totals 16 7-9 46.

C.R. KENNEDY (56): Cole Werling 1 0-0 2, Grant Griffin 0 0-0 0, Trey Sheets 3 0-0 7, Michael Gallagher 1 0-1 3, Zach Drahos 3 0-0 7, Caleb Schlaak 0 0-2 0, Tyler Andrews 9 4-4 23, Jack Wetzel 4 4-5 14, Ben Koester 0 0-0 0, Totals 21 8-12 56.

Halftime — Kennedy, 33-24. Three-point goals — Xavier 7 (Beckmann 3, Moses 3, Bastian 1), Kennedy 6 (Wetzel 2, Andrews 1, Drahos 1, Gallagher 1, Sheets 1). Total fouls — Xavier 14, Kennedy 13. Fouled out — None.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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