CEDAR RAPIDS — To cap the game of his life and perhaps the game of the season for his team, Gavin Soppe stepped to the free-throw line for a pair in the closing seconds Monday night.
The West Delaware senior guard lost a contact lens a couple of plays earlier and had popped his shoulder out a quarter and a half earlier.
“I’m pretty blind,” Soppe said. “So I was shooting those last two with one eye and a dislocated shoulder.”
They both went in. You shouldn’t have expected anything else.
Derek Krogmann was his usual beast self on the interior, but Soppe and Logan Woellert were the difference makers in the Hawks’ 66-59 win over Davenport Assumption in a Class 3A boys’ basketball substate final at the U.S. Cellular Center.
Soppe had a career-high 20 points, again, despite his second-half maladies. Woellert had 12 points, all in the second half as West Delaware (17-6) qualified for the state tournament for a second time in three years.
“We finished our possessions, I thought we were pretty strong with the ball,” Woellert said. “Coming in, we knew they were very good at jumping in passing lanes. Watching them on film all week, we kind of figured that out. We just finished our game strong.”
Very strong. The teams were tied at 28 at halftime, but West Delaware hit 56 percent of its field-goal attempts in the second half.
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The 6-foot-7 Krogmann, a preferred walk-on at UNI, had 27 points and 13 rebounds. He and sophomore guard Kyle Kelley have been the only consistent scorers all season for the Hawks ... until Monday night.
Soppe and Woellert came in averaging just five a game. In fact, Krogmann, Kelley, Soppe and Woellert were the only guys to score here.
“We talked coming into tonight that they had a two-headed monster that got about 33 a night. Our top two get us about 36 a night,” said West Delaware Coach Matt Uthoff. “The key to this game was going to be three through five, three through six. Who wanted to step up? ... When we needed a play, we had our role guys step up and make that play. They’ve been grinding all year long. It’s a special group of kids that has the will to win. We did everything we had to do to come out with the win tonight.”
The two-headed monster for Assumption (15-9) were the Peeters brothers. Dylan Peeters had 20 points to brother Sean’s 10.
Guard Grayson Heiser came in averaging 2.7 points a game but went off for 19, including five 3s. Unsung guys gallore stepped up in this game.
“We watched film, saw the scouts, and they weren’t hitting their shots most of the season,” Dylan Peeters said. “Tonight they were just falling. That’s part of the game, but we definitely weren’t expecting that.”
“If we get everybody scoring like this, our team is pretty unstoppable,” Soppe said. “Especially with a defense like ours.”
The Class 3A state tournament pairings will be determined later this week via a coach’s vote.
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DAVENPORT ASSUMPTION (59): Ray Kotula 2-4 0-0 4, Dylan Peeters 8-18 2-3 20, Anthony Valainis 2-4 0-0 4, Sean Peeters 5-9 0-1 10, Grayson Heiser 7-9 0-0 19, Logan Ehrecke 1-1 0-0 2, J.J. Stratman 0-0 0-0 0, Bill Flaherty 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-45 2-4 59.
WEST DELAWARE (66): Gavin Soppe 7-9 2-2 20, Derek Krogmann 12-22 3-4 27, Kyle Kelley 2-11 2-4 7, Logan woellert 5-7 0-1 12, Blake DeMoss 0-1 0-0 0, Jamison Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Logan Winn 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-50 7-11 66.
Halftime — Assumption 28, West Delaware 27. 3-point goals — Assumption 7-15 (Kotula 0-2, D. Peeters 2-6, S. Peeters 0-1, Heiser 5-6), West Delaware 7-10 (Soppe 4-5, Kelley 1-2, Woellert 2-2, DeMoss 0-1). Rebounds — Assumption 17 (D. Peeters, S. Peeters, Valainis 4), West Delaware 33 (Krogmann 13). Total fouls — Assumption 17, West Delaware 8. Fouled out — D. Peeters, S. Peeters. Turnovers — Assumption 6, West Delaware 7.
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