Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Wins never come in exactly the same fashion.
Some are closely contested, others lopsided.
As BJ Mayer explained to his West High squad on Tuesday following a 50-41 victory over Mississippi Valley Conference foe Dubuque Hempstead regardless of how the wins come they all count the same.
“We talked after the game that sometimes you have to win ugly,” Mayer said. “18-13 at the half was pretty ugly and 50-41 isn’t the prettiest thing in the world either but we were able to get a W and that’s the key.”
Tuesday’s Valley Division tilt in Iowa City was far from a masterpiece for Class 5A seventh-ranked West High but the nine-point win over Hempstead (2-6) served its purpose.
The win was the first of 2021 for West High which had lost three consecutive games to ranked opponents to start the month of January.
“It’s always nice to get a conference win at home and they were a nice team but it definitely felt good because it felt like it had been a while since we had a win,” West High senior Audrey Koch said. “We needed it.”
Koch scored nine of her game-high 17 points in the fourth quarter as West High improved to 3-3 with its first win since December 22.
Emma Ingersoll-Weng added 14 points for the Trojans which shot just 36 percent from the field and were 3-of-25 from 3-point range.
“It was important just mentally and to be able to come out and get a win after three in a row even those were all against good teams,” Mayer said. “It doesn’t get any easier and that’s the way we want it, we want to continue to get better and Cedar Falls is going to give us that challenge.”
West High lost games to top-five opponents Southeast Polk and Waterloo West and 4A No. 14 Cedar Rapids Xavier by a combined 11 points last week.
It took some time for the Trojans to find their footing on Tuesday.
West High missed all 11 of its first-half 3-point attempts while shooting 29 percent from the field and didn’t score for the final 4:51 of the first half.
The Trojans still led 18-13 at the break and quickly got some separation to start the second half.
West High opened the third quarter with an 11-3 run that was capped by a Koch bucket in transition.
“We talked about what we needed to work on as a team,” Koch said. “We always try to come out with a lot of energy in the third quarter and we really tried to pick it up.”
With Hempstead intent to turn the game into a half court affair West High constantly looked for opportunities to push the tempo after halftime.
Ultimately it was the Trojans’ defense that opened up some transition chances.
“For us to run it has to start with defense,” Mayer said. “I thought Emma was really good at pressuring the ball and we got up in some passing lanes and got some deflections and that allowed us to run out and get some easy baskets.”
Hempstead cut the lead to 36-27 with 6:59 left on a conventional 3-point play by Camdyn Kay but Koch scored twice in transition off Mustang turnovers to push the lead back to 40-27.
“We have been working a lot on transition offense in practice and were really trying to apply that tonight,” Koch said. “We want to run, coach Mayer has said if we throw a couple away that’s o.k. we just have to try to get out in transition and push the ball.”
West High hosts sixth-ranked Cedar Falls on Friday before road games at Cedar Rapids Prairie and No. 8 City High the following week.
“It was important just to kind of get out of, I don’t want to call it a rut, but get back on track after losing three games,” Koch said. “It was nice to get some momentum back before we play Cedar Falls.”
West High 12 6 15 17 – 50
Dubuque Hempstead 8 5 9 19 – 41
West High (50) – Lucy Wolf 0-2 0-1 0, Emma Ingersoll-Weng 4-13 5-8 14, Avery Vest 1-3 0-0 3, Liv Williams 1-2 0-0 2, Meena Tate 3-12 0-0 6, Jenna Saunders 0-4 0-0 0, Melae’ Lacy 1-3 0-2 2, Audrey Koch 8-14 0-0 17, Anna Prouty 2-2 2-2 6, Totals 20-55 7-13 50.
Dubuque Hempstead (41) – Carleigh Hodgson 3-9 0-0 7, Ashley Glennon 3-7 1-1 8, Camdyn Kay 5-10 3-7 14, Kialah Hill 1-5 0-0 2, Chandler Houselog 1-3 0-0 2, Jaelyn Tigges 1-6 0-0 2, Morgan Hawkins 1-2 4-4 6, Totals 15-42 8-12 41.
3-point field goals – ICW 3-25 (Wolf 0-1, Ingersoll-Weng 1-6, Vest 1-2, Williams 0-1, Tate 0-5, Saunders 0-4, Lacy 0-1, Koch 1-5), DH 3-15 (Hodgson 1-3, Glennon 1-4, Kay 1-4, Hill 0-1, Houselog 0-2, Tigges 0-1). Rebounds – ICW (Tate, Koch 7), DH 33 (Tigges 8). Turnovers – ICW 4, DH 14. Total fouls – ICW 10, DH 12. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.