Prep Basketball

Marcus Morgan's big first half helps lift Iowa City West past Dowling

Junior guard finished with 21 points, 17 in 1st half of 43-28 victory

IOWA CITY — For a kid who is doing something athletically year round, spending two weeks in a protective boot to help heal a foot injury is hell.

But Marcus Morgan made the best of it and still found a way to be active. Go figure with this kid, huh?

“I was in the boot riding the bike a little bit,” Morgan said, after his game-high 21 points helped Iowa City West past West Des Moines Dowling, 43-28, Tuesday night in a boys’ basketball season opener between two teams expected to be very good. “I was going to try and get over to swim, but I didn’t quite get there.”

Morgan is one of the state’s best football quarterbacks and baseball pitchers. He started every game for the Trojans in hoops last season as a sophomore, too.

The 6-foot-2 junior hit four 3-pointers and had 17 points in the first half here, despite only getting in four practices because of his foot, originally hurt in football. Morgan said he was able to do a lot of shooting prior to being temporarily shutdown, so he wasn’t necessarily surprised by his performance.

“I’ve been putting in the time,” he said.

“Marcus was really, really good in the first half,” said West Coach Steve Bergman. “He’s not in very good shape, but he stepped up and kept us there in the first half. Then the second half, he struggled a little bit offensively because (he has been hurt).”

West was able to build a 25-12 halftime lead even though top player Even Brauns barely played because of two quick first-quarter fouls. The 6-foot-9 senior center has signed with D-I Belmont University.

Credit Morgan and West’s typically stingy man-to-man defense.

“Defensively, I thought we were pretty good for the most part,” Morgan said. “On offense, we made some mistakes, as expected early in the season. We clean up those mistakes, and we’ll be in good shape.”

“I thought with Even not on the floor in the first half, people really stepped up and got us through the half. Our defense kind of carried us,” Bergman said. “We’ve built things to run our offense through Even. We have other abilities, but he can really pass out of the post. Our offense flows through him. He played a minute and a half, and that’s not enough.”

Dowling has tons of size and will be better as the season progresses because some of its players got a very late start due to another state football championship and 6-foot-7 freshman Omaha Biliew is still adjusting to prep basketball. Considered one of the better prospects in the state for his class, Biliew scored just four points on 2-of-8 shooting, though one of those two makes came on an impressive follow dunk after a missed shot by a teammate.

Dowling shot just 31 percent from the field, didn’t make a 3-pointer and turned it over 25 times.

“They’re pretty talented, but they’re a little behind,” Bergman said.

AT IOWA CITY WEST

WEST DES MOINES DOWLING (28): Matt Riedl 3-7 1-1 7, Drew Daniel 3-6 1-2 7, Ryan Riggs 2-6 2-2 6, Joe Strako 0-1 0-0 0, Matt Stilwill 1-5 2-2 4, Omaha Biliew 2-8 0-0 4, Andrew Lentsch 0-0 0-0 0, Michael Keough 0-1 0-0 0, Simon Daniel 0-0 0-0 0, Adam Bialzak 0-0 0-0 0, Will Yurgae 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 11-35 6-7 28.

IOWA CITY WEST (43): Tate Crane 2-6 1-2 5, Marcus Morgan 5-11 7-7 21, Even Brauns 3-4 2-2 8, Joey Goodman 2-4 0-0 4, Nicholas Pepin 2-14 2-2 5, Benjamin Vander Leest 0-3 0-0 0, Charlie Moreland 0-1 0-0 0, Christian Barnes 0-1 0-0 0, Andrew Tauchen 0-0 0-0 0, Mikey Crutcher 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-44 11-13 43.

Halftime — Iowa City West 25, West Des Moines Dowling 12. 3-point goals — West Des Moines Dowling 0-7 (Riedl 0-3, D. Daniel 0-2, Strako 0-1), Iowa City West 4-17 (Crane 0-1, Morgan 4-6, Goodman 0-1, Pepin 0-6, Vander Leest 0-2, Moreland 0-1). Rebounds — West Des Moines Dowling 25 (Riggs 5), Iowa City West 26 (Crane 7). Total fouls — West Des Moines Dowling 16, Iowa City West 12. Technical foul — Biliew. Fouled out — None. Turnovers — West Des Moines Dowling 25, Iowa City West 16.

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

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