Prep Basketball

Patrick McCaffery gets used to shouldering a larger load of Iowa City West's scoring

Goes off for 35 points Tuesday night in 74-61 win over Waterloo East

IOWA CITY — During Iowa City West’s boys’ basketball game this past Friday, Patrick McCaffery found himself an especially large focus of defensive attention by the opponent, Cedar Falls.

A Tigers player would follow him around, even if he was out by the half-court line. Sometimes his defender would front him, even if he was deep on the perimeter.

It’s nothing new. The 6-foot-8 senior forward and University of Iowa signee has seen that kind of stuff all season.

“It’s different. Very different,” said McCaffery, whose Class 4A ninth-ranked Trojans beat Waterloo East, 74-61, Tuesday night, behind his 35 points. “I’m used to having a lot of really high-level guys arounds me. Whether it’s my brother (Iowa freshman Connor McCaffery), Devonte (Lane), Seybian (Sims), Wali (Parks), Hakeem (Odunsi), just a lot of high-level guys. They were never able to face guard me, or box-and-one me before.”

McCaffery is the only double-digit scorer for West (9-2, 7-2 MVC Valley), as he came in here averaging 26.5 points per game, which ranked third in 4A. West’s next-highest scorer was junior Even Brauns at 9.0.

That McCaffery has been able to bump his scoring average about seven points from last season and sport a field-goal percentage of 61 percent is a testament to his ability and ever-improving game.

He can score inside, outside, off the dribble or in transition.

“I think he’s been pretty good with it,” said West Coach Steve Bergman. “And I think he’s been unselfish while doing it. There are times when we need him to be a little more selfish.”

“I knew how it was going to be, so I worked hard this summer on creating my own shot. I know that’s how it’s going to be at the next level, too,” McCaffery said. “This year, I’ve really had to work on breaking my guy down off the dribble and just making tougher shots, harder shots. Shooting more shots. I’ve still got to work on being more aggressive ... Just something this year I’ve had to work on and get used to. Something I’ll keep on doing and working hard on moving forward.”

The 6-9 Brauns added 18 points, 16 in the second half, as West eventually pulled away in what was a one-point game after three quarters. East (7-4, 5-3 MVC Mississippi) hung around thanks in large part to Tyrese Nickelson, who also had 35 points.

The 6-3 senior guard hit four 3-pointers and was at times unstoppable at penetrating the lane for layups and pull-up jumpers.

“We did a lot of good stuff tonight, but one guy kept them in the game,” Bergman said. “We had a plan (against him), but we did not execute it very well. When he gets like that, you’ve just got to go try and get the ball away from him.”

AT IOWA CITY

WATERLOO EAST (61): Tavious Jenkins 2-4 0-0 4, Trevion Labeaux 5-9 3-3 13, Ramon Harrington 1-2 0-0 3, Ramir Scott 2-8 0-0 4, Tyrese Nickelson 15-24 1-1 35, Jordan Wise 1-2 0-0 2, Davon Higgins 0-0 0-0 0, Isaivion Labeaux 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-49 4-4 61.

IOWA CITY WEST (74): Patrick McCaffery 11-18 12-13 35, Even Brauns 7-8 4-5 18, Marcus Morgan 1-2 2-3 4, Nicholas Pepin 2-5 2-2 8, Brayden Adcock 0-4 2-2 2, Tate Crane 0-2 0-0 0, Jacob Klein 1-3 0-0 3, Benjamin Vander Leest 1-1 2-2 4, Joey Goodman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-43 24-27 74.

Halftime — West 31, East 29. 3-point goals — East 5-10 (Harrington 1-2, Scott 0-2, Nickelson 4-6), West 4-13 (McCaffery 1-1, Morgan 0-1, Pepin 2-4, Adcock 0-4, Klein 1-3). Rebounds — East 21 (Jenkins, T. Labeaux 5), West 25 (McCaffery 7). Total fouls — East 17, West 5. Fouled out — Jenkins. Turnovers — East 10, West 9.

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

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