By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – It is said that shooting can be contagious.
It’s been defense rather than offense that is catching on at West High over the past few weeks and the top-ranked Trojans turned in another defensive gem on Tuesday.
West High forced 19 turnovers and held City High (3-11) to 35 percent shooting in an 82-38 win over the Little Hawks in a Mississippi Valley Conference contest at City High.
The win was the sixth straight for West High (11-1) which is holding opponents to less than 49 points per game during its winning streak.
“They know that our only chance to get to where we want to go is to be great defensively in the half court,” West High coach Steve Bergman said. “They are buying into that a little bit and they are playing better.”
Connor McCaffery had all of his game-high 25 points in the first three quarters as West High activated the running clock early in the third quarter.
Patrick McCaffery had 18 points and Evan Flitz added 11 for West High as the Trojans shot 53 percent from the floor while sweeping the regular season series from City High.
“I think we are locked in and we are defending a lot better,” Connor McCaffery said. “Just in terms of our help, our rules everything we do defensively I think has improved.”
In the first meeting between the two teams last month West High led 20-16 after one quarter.
The Trojans didn’t let the Little Hawks hang around that long on Tuesday.
West High scored 11 unanswered points in less than two minutes midway through the opening quarter to build a 17-4 lead and led 21-8 after the opening quarter.
“Credit to them, they came out and punched us in the mouth,” City High coach Derek Roberts said. “They are playing some aggressive basketball right now and we knew they were coming in.”
West High put the game out of reach with a 9-0 run to open the second quarter.
The Trojans held City High scoreless for more than four minutes to begin the second quarter while building a 30-8 lead.
“In the first quarter at West they hung around and what we wanted to do was get out and establish dominance and run,” Flitz said. “We were able to do that tonight.”
With the West High defense causing all sorts of problems for City High the Trojans were flowing on offense.
Connor McCaffery scored the final eight points of the half for West High, hitting a pair of 3-poitners in the final 42 seconds to give the Trojans a 46-16 halftime cushion.
Patrick McCaffery started the second half with four straight points including an emphatic windmill dunk in transition.
“When the intensity on defense is high usually the offense comes around with it,” Patrick McCaffery said. “We were intense on defense tonight.”
West High shot 61 percent from the field in the second and third quarters combined.
Connor and Patrick McCaffery combined for 32 of the Trojan’s 49 points in those two quarters.
“Rivalry games are always fun,” Connor McCaffery said. “You want to come out and play well in rivalry game and you definitely have a different mentality for these games.”
City High, which entered having won two of its last three games, was led by senior Chuck Johnson with 14 points and seven rebounds.
Antonio Turner had eight points for City High and Ry Threlkeld-Wiegand had seven.
“I think we showed our youth a little bit and it’s a good learning experience for our guys,” Roberts said. “Credit to them they are playing some really good basketball and they are the number one team in the state for a reason.”
City High 8 8 15 7 – 38
West High 21 25 24 12 – 82
West High (82) – Devontae Lane 2-7 1-2 5, Evan Flitz 3-4 2-2 11, Seybian Sims 0-4 4-4 4, Jake Anderson 2-3 1-1 5, Hakeem Odunsi 0-2 0-1 0, Nate Disterhoft 3-5 0-0 6, Patrick McCaffery 6-9 5-5 18, Connor McCaffery 10-16 3-3 25, Izaya Ono-Fullard 2-4 0-0 6, Josh Van Roekel 1-1 0-0 2, Team 29-55 16-18 82.
City High (38) – Antonio Turner 2-7 2-2 8, Carter Westlake 0-1 0-0 0, Kolbie Clayton 1-7 2-2 4, Gerald Seals 1-1 1-2 3, Keshawn Christian 1-4 0-0 2, Ry Threlkeld-Wiegand 2-5 3-4 7, JP Rethwisch 0-1 0-0 0, Chuck Johnson 6-10 2-2 14, Jared Taylor 0-1 0-2 0, Team 13-37 10-14 38.
3-point field goals – ICW 8-16 (Lane 0-1, Flitz 3-4, Anderson 0-1, Disterhoft 0-1, P. McCaffery 1-2, C. McCaffery 2-4, Ono-Fullard 2-3), ICH 2-8 (Turner 2-5, Westlake 0-1, Barnes 0-1, Threlkeld-Wiegan 0-1). Rebounds – ICW 31 (Disterhoft 7), ICH 20 (Johnson 7). Turnovers – ICW 9, ICH 19. Total fouls – ICW 13, ICH 14. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – ICW (P. McCaffery).