Boys basketball knocks off highly-ranked Dubuque Hempstead

The boys basketball team overcame an early deficit to beat Dubuque Hempstead 54-53 in the highly-anticipated MVC matchup on Jan. 7.

Owen Aanestad, Assistant Sports Editor

Call it a comeback.

With one of the best atmospheres yet this year it was only right for the Trojans to find a way to escape the floor with a win. Without starters Marcus Morgan ’21 (11.8 ppg) and Nick Pepin ’20 (8.8 ppg) the boys basketball team scrapped and fought to beat number two ranked Dubuque Hempstead 54-53 at home on Jan. 7.

From the start, it was evident there were a lot of firsts for coach Steve Bergman’s squad including sophomore Christian Barnes’ first start and some atypical minutes from Mikey Brown ’21 and Andrew Tauchen ’21 in the first half. The Trojans fell down seven at the end of first as they struggled with absent-minded turnovers resulting in multiple Dubuque Hempstead fast-break dunks.

Dubuque Hempstead chose to double-team Even Brauns ’20 throughout the game and towards the end of the second quarter, things started to click. It all started with a Ben Vander Leest ’20 jumper and a fast break behind-the-back pass from Joe Goodman ’20 for a Brauns dunk as the momentum started to swing in the Trojans favor going into the half down 29-25.

Coming out of the break it was all business for the Trojans as Barnes snuck in a driving basket and Brauns continued to find his shooters out of the post. Dubuque Hempstead kept responding despite a big Andrew Tauchen ’21 three as West went into the fourth down 37-40.

The fourth quarter consisted of six lead changes and yet another huge three from Tauchen, who scored eight in the game despite not scoring all year, to put West up 45-42 with 4:31 to play. With 3.7 seconds left it all came down to two free throws from Vander Leest who was calm, cool and collected as he put the game away by knocking down both to push the Trojans past unbeaten Dubuque Hempstead 54-53.

Even Brauns ’20 led the team in scoring with yet another high flying night above the rim as he finished with 17 points. Vander Leest finished his second straight game in double figures with 14 points and proved he had ice in his veins at the end of the game.

Yet another top-ranked MVC matchup comes to the West High gymnasium when the boys basketball team is back in action on Friday, Jan. 10 against Cedar Falls.

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