By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – After a thrilling one-point, overtime slugfest in the first meeting of cross-town rivals City High and West High round two between the Mississippi Valley Conference girls basketball heavyweights comes Tuesday night.
It is No. 2 against No. 3.
It’s a matchup of MVC unbeatens and it is being played in prime time.
When second-ranked City High (14-0) hosts West High (13-2) on Tuesday it will be the second game of a MVC boy-girl double-header. The boys game tips off at 6 p.m. with the girls showdown to follow.
“Just games in general we are used to playing second so I always like to play second,” City High coach Bill McTaggart said. “Hopefully we can play like it’s a meaningful game.”
If Tuesday’s rematch is anything like the first meeting, it will be deserving of top billing.
City High held on for a 74-73 overtime win in the first game between the two teams at West High on December 13.
The two teams have combined to go 16-1 since the December contest, the only loss a 77-71 setback for West High against No. 6 West Des Moines Valley on Saturday.
“We are excited to play them again,” West High junior Rachael Saunders said. “We don’t care about the time or anything else, we are ready to go at them no matter when it is.”
In the first meeting, West High twice trailed by double digits but rallied each time and had a chance to win the game in overtime but a 3-pointer by Cailyn Morgan at the buzzer was just off.
“They are so explosive, we kept getting up on them and they just keep fighting back, fighting back, you can never let up on West High and you saw that in that first game,” McTaggart said. “We were lucky to get out of there alive. I thought that last shot was in, I was already working on my post-game talk.”
City High is seeking its fourth straight win the series after winning both games against West High last season including a 57-41 victory in the last meeting at City High.
West High will try to reverse so recent history on Tuesday.
One team has swept the season series each of the past five seasons.
The teams haven’t split the two regular season games since the 2010-2011 season when West High won the first matchup and City High the second.
The only year since that both teams have a win in the cross-town series is 2012-2013 when West High won a Regional game after City High swept the regular season contests.
“It’s going to be another tough challenge, going over there, they have great players and they are playing very well right now,” West High coach BJ Mayer said. “They know our kids and we know their kids so there is a lot of familiarity with things. You want to compete and they want to compete against us as well.”
For West High Tuesday is the second of a string of three consecutive games against teams ranked in the top six in Class 5A.
The Women of Troy fell to sixth-ranked West Des Moines Valley and travel to No. 5 Cedar Falls on Friday.
“We are going possession by possession is what our coaches have been stressing to us,” Saunders said. “If we get the stop on D then we get a chance to make a play on offense.”
City High needed a fourth-quarter rally to sneak past Cedar Rapids Jefferson 55-50 on Friday to stay unbeaten.
The Little Hawks trailed by 14 points in the third quarter before outscoring the J-Hawks 19-6 in the fourth quarter.
“For the first 22 minutes we did not play very well at all against Jefferson,” McTaggart said. “We can’t have a drought like we did against Jefferson, we were 3-for-25 on 3-pointers and if we do that against West High we will be done. We’ll be back to the six o’clock game next year.”