Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Audrey Koch and Matayia Tellis were freshmen reserves when West High went on its magical state tournament title run in 2018.
Both figured at the time state tournament trips would be an annual event.
However, in the two seasons since the Trojans couldn’t get past the regional final.
In their final shot at a return to state Koch and Tellis simply would not be denied.
Koch and Tellis combined for 49 points as sixth-ranked West High (13-3) secured its first trip to state since 2018 with a 69-54 win over No. 13 Davenport North in the Class 5A, Region 6 title game on Tuesday at West High.
“Audrey and I have been talking about making it to the state tournament for a very long time,” Tellis said. “Last year we couldn’t make it past this spot and we all got a little down on ourselves but we came back today and got it.”
Koch poured in a career-high 34 points in her final home game and Tellis had 15 including eight straight in a key third-quarter run as West High pulled away.
West High will face third-ranked Waterloo West (19-1) in a Class 5A state quarterfinal on March 1 at 3 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Davenport North closed the season 11-2.
“It’s super exciting,” Koch said. “It was great being there in 2018 and being a part of that and then the last few years not going was tough. It was a big motivator knowing that this was our last run at trying to get to state.”
As the postseason started Koch and Tellis felt the weight of another possible regional final loss building.
The duo was tight in a 10-point semifinal win over Davenport Central, combined for 22 points thanks to 13 from Koch.
“I do think they felt it and I think they felt it more in the first-round game,” West High coach BJ Mayer said. “All the weight was on our shoulders, we were the number one seed in our region and they knew it was their last chance to get there.”
On Tuesday the weight was lifted well before the final buzzer sounded.
Koch scored the first eight points for West High and Tellis buried a 3-point with 18 seconds left in the opening quarter to put West High up 15-10.
“What can you say about Audrey and Matayia? They were phenomenal tonight,” Mayer said. “Once each of them made a few shots tonight you could see them breathe a little easier. Hats off to them.”
That was just the beginning for the West High senior duo.
Koch hit a 3-pointer just before the first-half buzzer that gave West High a 27-24 halftime lead it would never give up.
“We have done a lot of situation play in practice, practicing for end of half, end of quarter, end of game scenarios,” Koch said. “That really helps with feeling good when I am taking those shots.”
Davenport North wouldn’t go quietly.
The Wildcats trailed just 36-34 with 4:45 left in the third quarter when Tellis went to work.
Tellis had all eight points on a conventional 3-point play, a 3-pointer and a driving layup during an 8-2 West High run that pushed the lead to 44-37.
“I was in foul trouble in the first and second quarter and Mayer told me to just go have fun,” Tellis said. “I just kept driving and driving and was able to get to the hoop.”
The Tellis spurt was part of an entertaining, franticly-paced third-quarter that saw the two teams combine for 44 points on 17-of-26 shooting and ended with West High leading 51-44.
Davenport North would get no closer than seven points the rest of the way as West High hit 14 consecutive free throws in the fourth quarter.
“I knew it was going to come down to us getting a couple of stops in a row and we did and then we got some easy baskets,” Mayer said. “(Davenport North senior guard Bella) Sims is really good and then they made all kinds of shots. Give credit to them.”
Sophomore Meena Tate joined Koch and Tellis in double figures with 13 points but this night was all about the two West High senior starters.
Tellis made her final four field goal attempts on Tuesday and was 3-of-3 from the field in the second half.
Koch was somehow even better.
The 5-foot-10 senior made her final seven field goal attempts, including all five shots from the field, and finished 10-of-15 on her way to 34 points.
“Audrey really wanted this game, like she really wanted it,” Tellis said. “I told her if you want this game you need to go. Everyone is looking at you as a senior and you need to go off. I told her you need to go crazy and I feel like she did that. She stepped up and got this for us.”
Koch didn’t miss a single shot from anywhere in the final 16 minutes.
She was 10-of-10 from the free throw line after halftime including eight-of-eight in the fourth quarter.
“I was not expecting that many points, my teammates did an amazing job getting me open,” Koch said. “A lot of credit goes to them.”
Sims finished with 16 points, freshman Kyra Taylor had 12, Ivy Wilmington 11 and MeKiyah Harris 10 for the Wildcats.
Koch had eight rebounds to go with her 34 points and Anna Prouty had a game-high 11 boards for West High.
Tellis and Koch will make their first state tournament starts against Waterloo West next week after a two-year wait.”
“They played down there on the last championship team and its easy to say we will get back there again and then here we are as seniors they have finally made it back,” Mayer said. “I am just so happy for them because they deserve to go out down there.”
Davenport North 10 14 20 10 – 54
West High 15 12 24 18 – 69
West High (69) – Lucy Wolf 1-1 0-0 3, Matayia Tellis 4-7 5-6 15, Emma Ingersoll-Weng 1-6 0-0 3, Liv Williams 0-1 1-2 1, Meena Tate 3-5 6-6 13, Jenna Saunders 0-3 0-0 0, Melae’ Lacy 0-2 0-0 0, Audrey Koch 10-15 11-12 34, Anna Prouty 0-4 0-2 0, Totals 19-44 23-28 69.
Davenport North (54) – Me’Kiyah Harris 4-6 0-0 10, Shamiya Sibley 1-2 1-2 3, Layla Muhammad 1-3 0-2 2, Jordan Burch 0-2 0-0 0, Ivy Wilmington 3-7 3-4 11, Bella Sims 6-11 1-2 16, Kyra Taylor 6-16 0-0 12, Totals 21-47 5-10 54.
3-point field goals – ICW 8-21 (Wolf 1-1, Tellis 2-4, Ingersoll-Weng 1-4, Tate 1-2, Saunders 0-3, Koch 3-7), DN (Harris 2-3, Wilmington 2-5, Sims 3-7, Taylor 0-2). Rebounds – ICW 34 (Prouty 11), DN 22 (Wilmington 5). Turnovers – ICW 16, DN 12. Total fouls – ICW 10, DN 19. Fouled out – DN (Burch). Technical fouls – None.