Role Players Come Up Big For West High In Title Game Win
By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – The West High big three played bigger than ever on the state’s biggest stage on Saturday night.
The Trojan trio of Connor McCaffery, Devontae Lane and Patrick McCaffery combined for 44 points as top-ranked West High won its second Class 4A title in four years.
Even bigger than the performance from its big three in West High’s 64-50 win over No. 5 West Des Moines Valley was the performance it got from its role players.
Senior starters Nate Disterhoft and Izaya Ono-Fullard and junior reserves Evan Flitz, Seybian Sims and Seybian Sims all came up with critical plays as West High avenged its state title game loss from last season.
“Those guys were all huge for us tonight,” Patrick McCaffery said. “Evan’s two 3s were absolutely huge, back-to-back right when we needed them, Izaya and Nate made big plays. Those guys were all huge for us.”
They may play in the shadow of the state’s best trio but the five “other guys” as Disterhoft call them showed Saturday they are more than capable of carrying a team.
Even a team appearing in its fifth title game in six seasons.
Disterhoft, Ono-Fullard, Flitz, Sims and Odunsi combined to score 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting on Saturday.
The five role players had a combined six rebounds, seven assists and just three turnovers.
“Role guys like Izaya, me, Evan, Hakeem, Seybian when it’s our time to shoot we have to be ready to do that that’s what we work for in practice,” Disterhoft said. “Those three guys are
amazing but then we have good guys that will do stuff behind them.”
The group of five role players played its biggest role in the first half as Connor McCaffery and Lane battled foul trouble.
Flitz, Ono-Fullard and Sims combined to score the final 12 points of the half for West High as the Trojans built a 10-point halftime cushion.
Flitz hit a pair of 3-pointers in a span of less than a minute to put West High up 28-19.
With Lane and McCaffery both on the bench with two fouls Ono-Fullard and Sims scored all six- points during a 6-2 West High run to end the half.
“We made some good plays without our two best players in the game and that was a real big boost going in,” West High coach Steve Bergman said. “That was awesome.”
Ono-Fullard started the 6-2 run with an 18-foot jumper from the corner and Sims scored on a layup of a nifty Flitz assist on the ensuing possession.
A Hakeem Odunsi block set up an Ono-Fullard runout layup that just beat the buzzer and gave West High a 34-24 halftime lead.
“Izaya hit a big shot and also had that run out right before the half that was a big momentum swing,” Patrick McCaffery said. “That really changed the feel at halftime.”
Disterhoft was at the center of the strong performance from the West High role players on Saturday.
In his final prep game the 6-foot-4 senior made both of his field goal attempts and finished with four points, four rebounds and four assists.
“These last few weeks is what 12 months of work comes down to,” Disterhoft said. “This is what we work for the entire year is to play in this game.”
Nearly every time one of those five had a chance to make a play they took advantage.
Sims had four points on 2-of-2 shooting, Ono-Fullard had two assists and a steal and Odunsi blocked two shots.
“We feed off Devontae, Connor and Patrick because teams will key on them and then it will leave us open for shots that we normally wouldn’t get if they weren’t keying on them so much so,” Disterhoft said. “We just had to step up.”