Girls basketball punches ticket to state tournament

The girls basketball team defeated Davenport North in the substate final 69-54 behind 34 points from Audrey Koch ’21 on Feb. 23.

Owen Aanestad, Online Sports Editor and Yearbook Co-Sports Editor

Wells Fargo Arena bound.

For the first time since 2018 after winning the 5A state championship, BJ Mayer and the girls basketball team are headed back to Des Moines for the state basketball tournament next week. With the help of 34 points and eight rebounds from veteran playmaker Audrey Koch ’21, the Trojans took down Davenport North 69-54 on Feb. 23.

Matayia Tellis ’21 and Koch were set on making it back to Des Moines after being apart of the championship run in 2018, right from the tip. The Trojans jumped out an 8-5 lead with 4:45 left in the first. Koch had all eight of West’s points including a corner three early. Tellis, while dealing with a broken nose and two masks, knocked down a three of her own to keep the Trojans up 15-10 heading into the second quarter.

Davenport North’s aggressive offense and knockdown three-point shooters pulled the Wildcats within three halfway through the second. Seven straight points from North’s Bella Sims ’21 gave them one of their first leads of the night 19-17 with two minutes left in the half. Freshman Lucy Wolf banked in a three from the top of the key giving the lead back to the Trojans, 22-21. Mayer’s ability to go to the bench for some important minutes from underclassman Wolf and Melae’ Lacy ’24 helped West go into the half up 27-24.

Meena Tate ’23 connected from beyond the arc to start the third. She finished with 13 points on the night and will make her state tournament debut next week. An Anna Prouty ’24 block that led to a transition layup from Koch put West up 32-26 with 7:06 left. Tellis caught fire late in the third with a three and a big and-one with 3:30 left to extend the Trojans’ lead to seven. Point guard Emma Ingersoll-Weng ’22 battled through the Wildcat’s aggressive defense all night and was a big factor in running Mayer’s offense. A big third quarter kept the Trojans up 51-44 heading into the fourth.

More of the same filled the fourth quarter for both highly ranked squads. Tate found Koch in transition once again with three minutes left to send Koch to the free-throw line where she knocked down both and put the Trojans up 57-48. Mayer’s squad once again found themselves peaking just in time for a trip to the state tournament, they ran away with the win over Davenport North, 69-54.

The sixth seeded girls basketball team will face off with third seed Waterloo West for the second time this season at the state quarterfinal on March 1 at 3:00 pm.