By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
CEDAR RAPIDS – Given the choice, West High coach BJ Mayer would prefer not to be facing a halftime deficit of any kind let alone one of six-points.
Considering the way that things went for Mayer and the Women of Troy in the first 16 minutes on Saturday against Pella being down six points wasn’t all that bad.
West High shot 26 percent, had 11 turnovers and went nearly 10 minutes between field goals while falling behind 25-19 at halftime on Saturday.
“My assistant said do you want to know our shooting percentage and I said not really because I can tell you it’s not good,” Mayer said. “They didn’t shoot much better, so I knew we did some things where to be down six it wasn’t terrible.”
The struggles of the first half and the six-point deficit didn’t last long for West High.
Class 5A third-ranked West High shot 60 percent in the second half to rally for a 57-53 win over 4A top-ranked Pella (8-1) at the US Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids as part of Rivalry Saturday.
Rachael Saunders had eight of her team-high 16 points during a 23-point West High third quarter that turned a six-point deficit into a 42-39 lead.
“We definitely knew that we hadn’t played our best in the first half and that was kind of good for us because we knew we could play better,” Saunders said. “It was important for us to realize our own mistakes and then build on that and coach helped us do that.”
Logan Cook added 12 points and Cailyn Morgan had seven, all in the second half, as West High improved to 9-1 on the season with its fourth straight win.
“Obviously we don’t want to be down like that but we were down at Hempstead and we were down at City and we know that we can comeback,” Mayer said. “Hopefully we don’t have to do it a lot.”
West High actually got off to a quick start, taking a 10-4 a little more than three minutes into the game.
The rest of the half was a struggle for the Women of Troy.
West High went nearly 10 minutes without a field goal from the end of the first and start of the second quarters while scoring nine points in the final 13 minutes of the first half.
Pella took advantage, using a 16-1 run to build a 20-11 lead and led 25-19 at the half.
“We knew that we had to pick it up, we weren’t play as good as we could play,” Cook said. “That’s what we did in the second half.”
Cook and Saunders got West High going immediately in the third quarter.
The duo scored the first 11 West High points of the third quarter to pull the Women of Troy within 34-30.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Morgan and Saunders tied the score at 36 with three minutes left.
West High took its first lead since the first quarter on a Maddie Huinker driving layup with 2:15 left in the third quarter.
West High made 9-of-13 field goals in the third quarter with Saunders and Cook combining to make six of seven.
“The first half we were trying to go one-one-one after one pass,” Mayer said. “They were packing it in and basically making us beat them from the outside and we got the drive after we moved it around a little bit and they got lost a little bit.”
Paige Beckner hit a 3-pointer with 1:22 left in the third quarter to push the lead to 41-37 and West High led 42-39 after three quarters.
West High went 7-of-9 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter to keep Pella from getting any closer than two in the final eight minutes.
“Starting the third quarter our shots were definitely more on,” Cook said. “We were shooting a lot better and also we were getting back and on defense which is what we struggled with in the first half. We had a lot better defense.”
Emily Holterhaus led Pella with 19 points and 10 rebounds while Ciara Buchheit added 13 points and Kiara Bradley had nine before exiting with injury in the fourth quarter.
“When you have Holterhaus inside you can pick your poison and if you are going to double her you are going to leave some shooters open,” Mayer said. “They shot the ball a little bit better than their stats say but you have to give them a lot of credit for that too.”
West High 11 8 23 15 – 57
Pella 14 11 14 14 – 53
West High (57) – Cailyn Morgan 1-1 4-4 7, Lauren Zacharias 2-3 0-1 6, Ali Tauchen 1-1 1-2 3, Rachael Saunders 5-10 4-6 16, Katie McGrane 0-3 0-0 0, Maddie Huinker 1-9 2-4 4, Logan Cook 5-12 2-3 12, Emma Koch 2-5 0-0 4, Paige Beckner 2-3 0-0 5, Team 19-47 13-20 57.
Pella (53) – Kloe Lambert 0-1 0-0 0, Annika Pingel 0-2 2-2 2, Kiara Bradley 4-8 1-1 9, Ciara Buchheit 4-10 2-2 13, Kara Wichhart 0-1 0-0 0, Katie Vander Molen 1-6 1-2 3, Chloe Van Vliet 2-4 2-6 7, Emily Holterhaus 4-12 11-15 19, Team 15-44 19-28 53.
3-point field goals – ICW 6-23 (Morgan 1-1, Zacharias 2-3, Saunders 2-5, McGrane 0-2, Huinker 0-7, Cook 0-2, Koch 0-1, Beckner 1-2), PEL 4-14 (Lambert 0-1, Pingel 0-1, Bradley 0-1, Buchheit 3-7, Vander Molen 0-2, Van Vliet 1-2). Rebounds – ICW 41 (Huinker, Koch 7), PEL 27 (Holterhaus 10). Turnovers – ICW 19, PEL 12. Total fouls – ICW 19, PEL 13. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.