Posted On: 11/30/17 9:54 PM
Top ranked Iowa City West extended their home winning streak to 76 games with a 52-41 win over West Des Moines Dowling Catholic on Thursday night.
Overcoming a slow start, the Trojans used lockdown defense and transition buckets to take over the game in the second half, outscoring the Maroons 31-19 in the final 16 minutes for a season-opening win.
West (1-0) was led by Patrick McCaffery, who had 24 points, 20 of which came in the second half. He was the only Trojan to finish in double figures. Seybian Sims added nine points and also had four blocks in the win. Dowling Catholic (1-1) was led by Sam Ingoli, who had 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Maroons. John Waggoner added eight points in the loss.
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Dowling Catholic: Sam Ingoli 20, John Waggoner 8, Sam McMurray 6, Blake Clark 3, Ryan Riggs 2, Jack Lyman 2
Iowa City West: Patrick McCaffery 24, Seybian Sims 9, Dante Eldridge 8, Paul McGee 4, Evan Flitz 3, Hakeem Odunsi 2, Jake Anderson 2
The 2017-18 Trojans have a chance to be a special team defensively
This group has a chance to be one of the best defensive teams Steve Bergman has had in his time at West. They have some really good perimeter defenders in guys like Evan Flitz, Brayden Adcock and Paul McGee, and they have two really long, athletic rim protectors in Patrick McCaffery and Seybian Sims. McCaffery (one) and Sims (four) combined to block five shots in this game, but they altered a lot more and made life difficult for Dowling. After a few blocks, it was clear that the Maroons’ guards were changing the way they approached the paint, and that is going to be a constant theme throughout the season when teams play the Trojans. After a lot of years in which the Trojans have ridden a potent offense (and still a really good defense), this team may be more of a throwback to the way Bergman’s teams have traditionally won games – defense, defense, defense.
Sam Ingoli needs some help
Ingoli played a really strong game, finishing with 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists. But he looked like the only player on the Maroons’ roster capable of creating his own shot in this game. Part of that can be attributed to playing against an incredibly talented and long team, but if Dowling is going to be successful this year, they’ll need to find another player who can penetrate a defense and create for others, especially when Ingoli needs a breather.
Dowling Catholic is big, physical and going to win a lot of games
This has the looks of a fairly typical Dowling team. They’re big, strong and physical, and they’re going to play a methodical style in which they can use that physicality to bully teams around. This is a group that is going to score a lot off of second chances on the offensive end. They don’t have too many players that look like natural basketball players, but they’re athletic and strong, and they’re going to defend and second chance their way to plenty of wins yet again this year. They have a star in Sam Ingoli who will carry them, and some role players who will fill in the rest.
It’s still a work in progress
Both of these teams are going to look a lot different three months from now when the postseason rolls around. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that things don’t magically just fall into place on opening night. West’s guard play, which was a bit of a question mark this evening, will improve. Dowling will find a scorer to step up alongside Ingoli. Both of these teams are going to be really good in February, but it’s a work in progress.
Steve Bergman’s 500th West High win
This win gave Steve Bergman his 500th career win as the coach at West High, and his 545th overall, which ranks 22nd all-time in Iowa. And how fitting that his 500th win was a throwback to the way he likes to win games, with the defense swarming and carrying the torch to the finish line.