Prep Basketball

Tate Crane rescues No. 3 Iowa City West boys' basketball at Linn-Mar

Junior scores 9 points during 14-2 closing burst in 38-31 win

Iowa City West's Tate Crane reacts after a call in his favor during a game earlier this season. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Iowa City West’s Tate Crane reacts after a call in his favor during a game earlier this season. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

MARION — With its back against the wall, Iowa City West leaned on its toughness.

There aren’t many tougher Trojans than junior forward Tate Crane.

“I have been trying to be a leader the whole year,” Crane said after the Class 4A third-ranked Trojans rallied past Linn-Mar, 38-31, in a Mississippi Valley Conference boys’ basketball game Monday night at Linn-Mar High School. “I feel like I have been there for the guys and kind of needed that to do anything and everything possible to lead.”

With West trailing early in the fourth quarter, 29-24, Crane put the game on his shoulders. In a stunning 14-2 Trojans run to close the game, Crane scored nine of his team-high 11 points both from the field and at the free throw line.

“That nine-point boost gave me the power to lead our guys,” Crane said. “The environment was great tonight. We work with our guys and we know what we are capable of. Leading that, playing well and leading the guys is a big thing.”

The win gives West (8-1, 4-1) a boost as it continues a grinder of a schedule with three more games in the next five days, including a showdown Tuesday night at home against 4A No. 2 Waterloo West.

“They rested up tonight,” West Coach Steve Bergman said of the Wahawks. “They had a practice just for us today and we haven’t done one thing to get ready for them. That is the problem when we are playing all these back-to-backs, so big advantage to them. We are going to have to figure out a way to hang in there and make it tough at our place and see if we can sneak one out.”

West 6-foot-9 senior center and Belmont signee Even Brauns added 10 points and nine rebounds, while junior guard Nick Pepin scored nine points.

Linn-Mar junior point guard John Steffen scored 13 of his game-high 16 points in the second half, including a nine-point flurry that helped the Lions (4-4, 1-3) to a seven-point lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Boys’ basketball

AT LINN-MAR

Class 5A No. 3 Iowa City West 38, Linn-Mar 31

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I.C. WEST (38): Christian Barnes 0 0-0 0, Tate Crane 4 3-6 11, Joey Goodman 2 2-3 6, Nick Pepin 2 3-4 9, Ben Vander Leest 1 0-1 2, Andrew Tauchen 0 0-0 0, Even Brauns 4 2-2 10, Totals 13 11-16 38.

LINN-MAR (31): Pearson Martin 0 1-2 1, Will Zahradnik 0 0-0 0, Cam Guenther 3 0-0 6, Brady Klahn 0 2-2 2, Dylan Decklever 1 1-2 4, Luke Passmore 1 0-0 2, John Steffen 7 0-0 16, Andrew Knipper 0 0-0 0, Totals 12 4-6 31.

I.C. West 8 6 6 18—38

Linn-Mar 5 7 13 6—31

Three-point goals – I.C. West 2 (Pepin 2); Linn-Mar 3 (Steffen 2, Decklever 1). Rebounds – I.C. West 17 (Brauns 9); Linn-Mar 19 (Guenther 5, Klahn 5). Total fouls – I.C. West 26, Linn-Mar 22. Fouled out – Klahn.

Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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