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The Gazette KCRG
Posted February 19, 2013
Murry stars again as West Branch wins first district title since ’92

West Branch's Rylan Murry releases a jump shot over the defense of West Liberty's Cooper Koenig (53).

TIFFIN — When Rylan Murry was introduced pregame last night, a couple of kids standing in the West Liberty student section began chanting “Overrated!”

Then you immediately heard another kid “shhh” them down and add “No he’s not!” That kid was right.


Murry is legit, a thick 6-foot-8 senior with handles and an inside-outside offensive game that helped lift his West Branch Bears to a 70-57 win over West Liberty for their first district boys’ basketball championship since the 1991-92 season. West Branch (18-5) gets North Cedar (20-3) in a Class 2A substate final Saturday night at Iowa City West in the rubber game this season between the Cedar Valley Conference rivals.

“We’ve never gone to the state tournament in West Branch history, so just being the first team to make it there would mean so much to us,” Murry said.

The Division I Nebraska-Omaha signee racked up 34 points against an undersized West Liberty team, with he and 6-foot-6 Cody Brandt forming a virtually unstoppable interior combination. Brandt had 12 points, with forward Cole Cook adding 11 and a game-high nine rebounds.

WB shot 65 percent thanks to a plethora of bunnies.

“I thought we got the ball where we needed to get it,” said Murry, who came in averaging 23.7 points. “Especially considering their lack of height. We did a good job of getting it inside.”

West Liberty (12-12) didn’t make it easy for the Bears, slicing a fourth-quarter disadvantage to as little as seven, but there was nothing the Comets could do defensively, considering their biggest starter was 6-foot-2 Tyler Newsome.

To start the second half, West Liberty briefly attempted a box-and-one on Murry, with the “one” being 5-foot-8 guard Israel Montelongo.

“That’s what we’re going to see against North Cedar,” West Branch coach Stephen Bender said of the box-and-one. “We’ve seen it all year, and we’ve had a lot of success against it. It’s important for us to keep Cody out of foul trouble because that gives us another guy to go to inside when they get out on our (3-point) shooters.”

Guard Kyle Miller had 17 points and Brett Becker and Newsome 14 each for West Liberty, which had just two seniors on its roster.

Here is the game boxscore:


WEST LIBERTY (57): Carl Guardado 3-5 3-6 9, Tyler Newsome 6-12 0-0 14, Israel Montelongo 0-2 0-0 0, Kyle Miller 8-12 1-2 17, Brett Becker 6-14 1-2 14, Troy Heick 0-2 1-2 1, Riley Anderson 0-0 0-0 0, Cooper Koenig 0-2 2-3 2. Totals 23-49 8-15 57.

WEST BRANCH (70): Cody Brandt 6-9 0-0 12, Cole Cook 4-4 3-3 11, Rylan Murry 13-19 7-11 34, Mason Hays 1-1 0-0 3, Lucas Lamont 2-6 0-0 6, Mike Gould 2-4 0-0 4, Konnor Myvrik 0-0 0-0 0, Branden Shortt 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-43 10-14 70.

Halftime – West Branch 38, West Liberty 28. 3-point goals – West Liberty 3-14 (Montelongo 0-1, Newsome 2-6, Miller 0-1, Becker 1-6), West Branch 4-11 (Murry 1-4, Hays 1-1, Lamont 2-6). Rebounds – West Branch 30 (Cook 9), West Liberty 16 (Newsome, Heick 3). Total fouls – West Liberty 11, West Branch 10. Fouled out – None. Turnovers – West Liberty 8, West Branch 16.

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