DES MOINES — Iowa City West was concerned about Adam Woodbury. Turns out the bigger concern should have been Sioux City East with Jeremy Morgan.
The silky smooth junior swingman went off for 19 points in the first half to outshine his hyped opponent and help West build a huge lead it rode to a 67-52 win in the Class 4A state championship basketball game Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena.
It’s the daily-double for West, as the boys successfully followed up a girls’ basketball championship last week. West is the fourth school to win both titles in the same season, following Winfield-Mount Union (1995), Iowa City High (2008) and Sioux City Heelan (2010).
The West student section chanted “We got two! We got two!” as the postgame trophy presentation began.
“It was the last game of the season, so we just wanted to make sure everybody left everything out on the court,” said West’s Dondre Alexander, selected captain of the 4A all-tournament team. “We played hard and together.”
This is the fourth championship on the boys side for West, its first since 2000. And it’ll be heavily favored to make it number five next season considering its top three players (Morgan, Alexander and guard Wyatt Lohaus) all return, as does 3-pointer shooter deluxe Austin Swank.
“We’re still a young team,” Lohaus said. “We return a lot of players.”
“I’m going to Las Vegas in the morning for spring break,” was all Coach Steve Bergman would say when asked about the future.
At 6-foot-6, Morgan has size to go along with skill, athleticism and shooting ability. Definitely a Division I college prospect.
He finished with 26 points, making three of four triples and 11 of 12 free throws to join Alexander, Woodbury, East’s J.C. Fuller and Linn-Mar’s Marcus Paige on the all-tourney team.
Alexander added 14 points for West, which won its three games here by an average of 19 points.
“I came out and hit the first shot, so I just kept shooting it,” Morgan said. “They were going in.”
“Jeremy Morgan, over the last six months, has become one of the best leaders I’ve ever had,” said Bergman, who added a third notch to his personal championship belt. “Ryan Baumgart, Ali Farokhmanesh, that’s where he’s at. I’m happy for him because he’s done all the things leaders do. Tonight, he got it going.”
West (26-0) was highly impressive in the opening 16 minutes. It ran to a 20-9 lead after a quarter, with Morgan behind virtually all of that offensive damage. And he didn’t get his first points until hitting a pair of free throws three-plus minutes in.
But that opened the spigot. He splashed back-to-back treys to make it a 13-5 game, then added two more free throws for his own little personal 10-point run. After an Alexander putback, Morgan swished another corner 3-ball just before the buzzer for a 13-point quarter.
Swank’s and-one layup off a steal made it 23-9 West to begin the second quarter, and the lead grew to as many as 22 before settling in at 16 (39-23) at halftime.
“We just wanted to play our best,” said Lohaus. “We came pretty close. We had a couple of lapses, but other than that, we played a really good game.”
The obvious worry coming in for Bergman and his team was the presence of the 7-foot-1 Woodbury. West is entirely a man-defense team, and it certainly didn’t have anyone to matchup.
No one does.
The Trojans played physically against Woodbury, fronting him with Jake Gylten primarily, then Myzeah Batie-Gaddy when Gylten picked up three fouls and Jason Stewart when Batie-Gaddy got his third foul. Woodbury had 10 points in the first half anyway and finished with 16, to go along with nine rebounds.
He was taken out of the game late and waved to the Black Raiders faithful as he received a nice ovation from them. Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery was among those in the house to watch the game.
“I could be disappointed by the loss and everything,” said Woodbury. “But being at the state tournament all four years of my career, not many people can say that. Reaching the title game, that was a goal. We made it. We would have have liked to take the gold trophy home, but somebody has to lose. Tonight that was us.”
Here’s the game boxscore and play by play and a short video interview with Woodbury: