Prep Basketball

Wapsie Valley pulls away from Ed-Co for boys' state basketball berth as district 4-seed

Warriors advance to Des Moines with 55-38 win

Wapsie Valley players and coaches celebrate after winning a Class 1A substate final over Edgewood-Colesburg at Prairie H
Wapsie Valley players and coaches celebrate after winning a Class 1A substate final over Edgewood-Colesburg at Prairie High School in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020. (Mike Condon/correspondent)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Marty McKowen’s T-shirt from Wapsie Valley’s last visit to state was wearing out.

“I wore our 2013 today to our get together before the game,” McKowen said. “It was getting a little ragged and I needed a new one.”

Thanks to some sticky defense and timely shooting, the veteran Warriors coach is going to get a brand new shirt.

Wapsie Valley broke away from a 20-20 halftime tie with Edgewood-Colesburg in Saturday night’s Class 1A substate final at Prairie High School with a big third quarter. The Warriors (18-7) outscored the Vikings 19-10 in the period and were able to pull away late in the fourth quarter for a convincing 55-38 win, advancing to state.

McKowen said the difference in the second half was simple.

“To be honest, we were just stronger with the basketball,” he said. “In the first half, I thought we got a little soft with the ball. In the second half, we got better dribble penetration and came to a jump stop and were able to hit a few 3-point shots.”

The dagger may have come from junior Blayde Bellis. His second 3-point basket of the period gave Wapsie Valley an 11-point margin midway through the third quarter.

“Hey, we’ve got a young team and when you come out in a big substate game in the first half, you have to get the jitters out,” Bellis said. “We came out in the second half and we pride ourselves on defense. We didn’t let them get to the cup.”

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Bellis was the spark in the second half, but it was Gunner Meyer who kept Wapsie Valley in the game in the first half. He scored 11 of his team’s 20 points in the first half.

“He kept us in the game,” Bellis said.

In the fourth quarter, the Wapsie Valley plan was simple.

“We wanted to control the ball and make them come after us,” McKowen said. “We did a pretty good job of that.”

The Warriors will take an eight-game winning streak to state after entering postseason play as a No. 4 seed in their district.

“We’ve been underrated through this whole tournament trail,” Bellis said. “We knew if we played our game, it would go our way. We did it right and now we’re going to state.”

Meyer led the winners with 13 points. Bellis and Kiks Rosengarten finished with 12 apiece.

Ed-Co finishes at 15-10. Spencer Staner led the Vikings with 9 points

WAPSIE VALLEY (55) Blayde Bellis 4 2-3 12, Kobe Risse 2 5-9 11, Tyler Ott 2 1-3 5, Kiks Rosengarten 5 2-4 12, Gunner Meyer 5 0-0 13, Casey O’Donnell 0 0-0 0, Andrew Westpfahl 0 0-0 0, Parker Landsgard 1 0-0 2, Brody Stark 0 0-0 0, Johnny Kerns 0 0-0 0, Dallas Wittenburg 0 0-0 0, Garrett Barnes 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 10-19 55.

ED-CO (38) Parker Rochford 2 1-3 6, Korey Putz 2 0-0 5, Keegan Hansel 0 0-0 0, Spencer Staner 1 6-8 9, Riley Ashline 5 1-2 11, Kody Hoeger 1 0-0 3, Carson Knipper 1 0-0 2, Konner Putz 0 0-0 0, Quintin Hess 1 0-2 2, Jack Wiskus 0 0-0 0, Brayden Stannard 0 0-0 0, Mason Ashline 0 0-0 0, Weston Wowcliffe 0 0-0 0, Jake Jones 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 8-13 38.

Halftime: Ed-Co 20, Wapsie Valley 20. 3-point goals: Wapsie Valley 9 (Bellis 2, Risse 2, Meyer 3). Ed-Co 4 (Staner 1, Rochford 1, Kor. Putz 1, Hoeger 1,d) . Fouled out: R. Ashline. Technical fouls: none.

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