CEDAR RAPIDS — This is Georgetown-Villanova in 1985.
If Cedar Rapids Jefferson somehow beats Iowa City West Tuesday night in a Class 4A substate final, it’d be bigger than Georgetown-Villanova. We’re talking one of the largest upsets in Iowa boys’ prep basketball history.
That’s not ESPN hype, that’s truth. This would be a 16 seed beating a 1 in the NCAA tournament, something that’s never happened.
“We don’t have much margin for error,” Jefferson Coach Stu Ordman admitted. “We have to play close to a perfect game, and that’s what we’re striving to do.”
Not trying to knock Jefferson in any way, by the way.
Give Ordman credit for another solid season (13-10), including a four-game win streak here at the end. The J-Hawks are seeking a fourth straight state tournament appearance, so they’re used to the big stage.
But West is 22-0 and has won 47 consecutive games in an effort to repeat as 4A champ. The Trojans lost a Division I college player in Dondre Alexander (suspension, quit team) roughly three weeks ago but have played even better without him somehow, beating teams by an average of 33 points in their last five games.
That included a 44-point win over Cedar Rapids Prairie in a substate semifinal last Friday.
“They’re well coached, can score and defend,” Ordman said. “Their guards are taller than our post players.”
That’s a tad bit of exaggeration, as West point guard Wyatt Lohaus is 6-foot-2, an inch shorter than Jefferson’s Layne Sullivan, its biggest starter. But you get the point.
Lohaus and Jeremy Morgan, both UNI bound, have seemed to pick up their games in Alexander’s absence. Then so have others.
West beat Jefferson in the regular season, 59-32. The J-Hawks must have their outstanding guard trio of Jacob Olson, Creighton Robinson and Ky Kramer play huge, no pun intended.
“I thought we’ve played much better the last two weeks,” Ordman said. “Our attitudes have improved. I’m not sure why it took us this long.”
Tuesday’s game is at Cedar Rapids Prairie. Over at Cedar Rapids Kennedy, Western Dubuque (22-0) plays Cedar Falls (18-4) in another 4A substate final.
The state tournament is next week at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.