Your Prep Sports
DES MOINES – Meena Tate is no rookie.
The West High sophomore guard had started 39 consecutive games before making her debut at the state tournament on Monday.
Even with two full seasons of experience under her belt it has tough to imagine a better opening act at the state tournament than the performance that Tate had against Waterloo West in the 5A quarterfinals on Monday.
Tate scored a team-high 21 points and grabbed four rebounds in her first time on the Wells Fargo Arena helping sixth-ranked West High return to the 5A semifinals for sixth time in 11 seasons with a 65-63 win over No. 3 Waterloo West.
“I was really dialed in,” Tate said. “I think I was just really in the zone. I didn’t get bother by the crowd, by the other team, by the refs I was just focused and that’s when I play my best.”
The performance by Tate was impressive.
Taking into account the stage and the opponent make the 21-point outburst by Tate even more remarkable.
However, to West High coach BJ Mayer and the rest of the West High players the career game from Tate was no surprise.
“She has played a lot for us the past two years and we know what she is capable of,” Mayer said. “We trust every one of these girls to come up with a big game when it is their turn.”
Tate took it upon herself to get West High off to a strong start in its first trip to state since 2018.
The 5-foot-8 guard hit her first seven field goal attempts, including a pair of 3-pointers, and scored 16 of her team-high 21 points in the first half.
“That definitely got everything rolling,” Tate said. “I think that sometimes we have slow starts so I think my making a couple of shots in the beginning got everything moving quickly.”
Tate nearly matched her season scoring average of 8.2 points in the first quarter going 4-of-4 from the floor and buried a pair of triples in the second quarter as West High went into the locker room tied at 27.
“Meena was so aggressive early,” Mayer said. “She got to the rim and gained a bunch of confidence and that really helped her.”
Tate added five points in the second half, including a key basket with four seconds left in the third quarter that cut the Waterloo West lead to six.
The sophomore finished with four rebounds, an assist and a steal to go with her 21 points as West High had four players with at least nine points and three in double figures.
“We get really excited for each other,” Tate said. “I think I personally get more excited when my teammates scored than I do when I score.”