Saturday’s games at the boys’ state basketball tournament:
CLASS 4A CHAMPIONSHIP
No. 1 Iowa City West (25-0) vs. No. 2 Bettendorf (25-0)
Time: 8:05 p.m. (KCRG-9.2)
Semifinal Games: West rallied from six points down at halftime with a great second half that gave it a 52-36 win over Dubuque Senior. Bettendorf got a late bucket and defensive stop to edge Cedar Falls, 39-36.
Synopsis: Well, it’s the game most everyone wanted. It’s the first time since 1975 (Ames and Des Moines Lincoln) a Class 4A final involves two undefeated teams. Interestingly, they scrimmaged over the Christmas break. West has won 51 games in a row as it seeks back-to-back undefeated championship seasons. The Trojans have not played well in Des Moines, with the exception of their exceptional second half against Senior. They beat West Des Moines Dowling in overtime in the quarterfinals after trailing by six with a little over a minute left in regulation. Bett had an easier time of it in the quarterfinals, beating Urbandale, 62-53 in a game it led most of the way. UNI signee Jeremy Morgan has been terrific for West here, with 36 points in two games and providing great defense. Four of five starters for the Bulldogs are juniors, so will there be any big-game jitters? Guard Cole Clearman leads a balanced offensive attack, scoring 13.6 points a game. These teams’ size is pretty equal, as is their depth. Their defensive averages are incredibly similar (38.8 Bettendorf, 38.9 West). The individual matchups seem just as equal, with the exception of one guy: Morgan. He could be the difference maker here.
Quotable: “Any team down here is not going to be easy to beat. Every team is going to give you their best shot. You have to expect that, and try and play to the best of your abilities. It doesn’t get any better than (this). That’s what every kid’s dream is, to play a big-time game, a championship. We’re all really happy to be in this position.” — West’s Jeremy Morgan
“It was kind of hard to tell because we were playing a lot of guys, rotating a lot of guys (in the scrimmage against Bettendorf). I thought we held their own fine.” — West’s Wyatt Lohaus
Prediction: West by 5
Other Games Saturday
Class 3A Consolation – MOC-Floyd Valley (21-5) vs. Davenport Assumption (19-7), 12:05 p.m.
Class 4A Consolation – Cedar Falls (20-5) vs. Dubuque Senior (23-2), 1:45 p.m.
Class 3A Championship – Harlan (20-6) vs. Waverly-Shell Rock (22-4), 6:05 p.m.