Prep Basketball

It's all Iowa City West against Waterloo West in matchup of 4A's No. 2 and No. 3-ranked teams

Trojans hold Wahawks to season-low in 53-32 win

West's Even Brauns watches the ball after making a dunk in the fourth period at a high school boys' basketball game with
West's Even Brauns watches the ball after making a dunk in the fourth period at a high school boys' basketball game with Iowa City West at Xavier High School in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. West won the game. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — They aren’t the most talented bunch around. Not a pretty team, by any means.

Not a deep team, either.

But they’re the Iowa City West Trojans, so they win. Just win.

“It’s credit to the coaching. The way we practice,” West’s Even Brauns said, after his Class 4A third-ranked club crushed No. 2 Waterloo West, 53-32, Tuesday night. “I think we’re the hardest-practicing team in the state most likely. The way we do things here, it’s the right way, disciplined. Defense, that’s our thing, and that helps us win games, no matter what.”

Yeah, that defense, which head coach Steve Bergman always has hung his hall of fame hat on. His team is giving up a mere 40 points a game and actually pitched a second-quarter shutout here.

That allowed Iowa City West (9-1, 5-1 MVC Valley) to grab a commanding 24-8 halftime lead. It was a 40-16 game after three quarters.

Waterloo West (8-2, 4-1), which came in second in 4A in scoring, was completely taken out of its offense by Iowa City West’s man to man. The Wahawks’ only loss was to Bolingbrook (Ill.), and their wins had come by 21 points or more.

“It’s been good all year,” Bergman said, of his defense. “We sold that to these guys, that they had to be special defensively, because I don’t know if we’ll ever be special offensively. I’d like to think we could be better and be more efficient, a little more understanding of what we have. Every day we work hard on that, spend way more time on offense than defense. Waterloo West has a certain style, and our goal is not to let you play that style.”

Iowa City West had to rally to beat Linn-Mar in an offensively challenged 38-31 game Monday night but shot 62 percent from the field here, patiently working the basketball around for good shots. Waterloo West had no answer on the low block for Brauns, the 6-foot-9 senior and D-I Belmont signee scoring 19 points.

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He said he was surprised he was able to go one-on-one down low, Waterloo West deciding not to give extra help defensively.

“I was a little tentative trying to make the right play early,” Brauns said. “But after the first couple of possessions, knowing that they weren’t sending a second guy, I just knew that was something I had to take advantage of.”

Daquavian Walker led Waterloo West with 14 points, with 13 of those coming in the second half.

“It was the polar opposite of last night,” Bergman said. “They’re out denying and playing like their hair was on fire. Last night, (Linn-Mar) wouldn’t guard us outside the lane. We’ve got to figure out how to deal with both because I’ve got a feeling we’ll probably see that saggy defense again.”

AT IOWA CITY WEST

WATERLOO WEST (32): Antonio Alexander Jr. 0-0 0-0 0, Jaden Keller 2-4 1-2 5, Amar Kuljuhovic 2-7 0-0 4, Isaiah Johnson 2-5 0-0 4, Daquavian Walker 5-11 4-5 14, Caleb Haag 0-1 0-0 0, Mitch Fordyce 1-2 0-0 2, Mondre Lagow 1-4 0-0 3, Colby Adams 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 13-36 5-7 32.

IOWA CITY WEST (53): Tate Crane 4-8 1-2 9, Benjamin Vander Leest 2-3 2-2 6, Even Brauns 8-10 3-5 19, Joey Goodman 3-4 0-0 7, Nicholas Pepin 2-4 3-4 7, Christian Barnes 1-4 0-0 3, Andrew Tauchen 0-0 0-0 0, Charlie Moreland 0-0 0-0 0, Mikey Crutcher 0-0 0-0 0, Muhammad Simpson 1-1 0-0 2, Nikolas Zamora 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-34 9-13 53.

Halftime — Iowa City West 24, Waterloo West 8. 3-point goals — Waterloo West 1-10 (Kuljuhovic 0-1, Johnson 0-1, Walker 0-2, Fordyce 0-1, Lagow 1-4, Adams 0-1), Iowa City West 2-6 (Vander Leest 0-1, Goodman 1-1, Barnes 1-4). Rebounds — Waterloo West 15 (Kuljuhovic 5), Iowa City West 24 (Crane, Brauns 5). Total fouls — Waterloo West 16, Iowa City West 6. Fouled out — None. Turnovers — Iowa City West 15, Waterloo West 14.

Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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