West Branch senior Cooper KabelaBy Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
West Branch is only a third of the way through its River Valley Conference slate and league coaches are already running low on ways to slow Cooper Kabela.
Monticello coach Tim Lambert suggested prayer as a way to stop Kabela after watching the West Branch senior score 32 points earlier this month.
Regina coach Stu Ordman had a different suggestion after Kabela posted a 30-point, 16-rebound against the Regals on Friday.
“I think you just hang on his knees and beg him not to score again,” Ordman said.
Ordman was joking of course but league coaches certainly aren’t smiling as they attempt to game plan for the 6-foot-4 Kabela.
Kabela leads the RVC in scoring at 24.1 points and eight rebounds per game this season and has scored at least 18 points in all six conference contests this season.
“Whatever we did it didn’t work very well,” Ordman said. “He still got like 10,000 points.
Mostly what teams have done against Kabela is surround him with defenders.
It has had varying degrees of success in slowing the senior.
Kabela has scored at least 20 points in five games and scored 30 points three times.
He is shooting 52 percent from the floor and better than 56 percent from the 3-point line.
“Our first two or three games we were hitting some outside shots and then Cooper is able to operate inside,” West Branch coach Tom Burger said. “(Friday) Kabela had three or four guys on him all night and we just couldn’t hit a shot. We will eventually hit those shots but we just didn’t tonight.”
Kabela had a season-high three assists on Friday against Regina he will likely need to continue to add to that total as the double and even triple teams continue to come.
West Branch opened the season 4-1 but has dropped back-to-back games to fall to 4-3 on the season.
“We have guys that can make shots,” Kabela said. “We just need continue to work to improve.”
Win Number 1: After an 0-6 start to the season that included losses to three ranked teams and a trio of state semifinalists from last season City High got into the win column on Saturday.
The Little Hawks got first-year coach Derek Roberts his first win at City High with a 57-42 win over Burlington on Saturday.
“It was very important, we have had a tough season right now but we still are building on it and still trying to reach our goals,” Sophomore Antonio Turner said. “It’s been a tough season so it felt good to get our first win tonight.”
Top Performances: Solon senior Jacob Coons had 15 points and seven rebounds in a 63-48 win over Anamosa.
West High senior Connor McCaffery had 19 points, seven rebounds, six assists and four steals in a 76-58 win over Waterloo East.
City High sophomore Antonio Turner 20 points four rebounds and three steals in a 57-42 win over Burlington.
Regina junior Jake Phillips had 22 points six rebounds and six assists in a 76-62 win over West Branch.
West Branch senior Cooper Kabela had 30 points, 16 rebounds and three assists in a 76-62 loss to Regina.