Girls and boys basketball both lose in tough battles to Linn Mar

The girls and boys basketball teams both traveled to Marion Jan. 20 to take on Linn Mar.

Jack McCaffery '25 scores a three-pointer to end the third quarter, putting West up 54-40 against Linn Mar Jan. 20. Even in a packed gym full of Linn Mar fans, McCaffery's teammates and coaches, plus the West student section, can be heard cheering. Video credit: Ceci De Young.

A gym packed full of students and families cheering for the opposing team — that’s not an easy scene to compete in. Yet, being a part of that setting away at Linn Mar Jan. 20, during Linn Mar’s crowded red-out American Heart Association Night & Hall of Fame Induction, didn’t stop the West girls and boys basketball teams from giving their all.

Starting at 6 p.m., the girls basketball team stepped onto the court with a great amount of energy that continued throughout the entirety of the game. Although the first three quarters ended with West being down (6-13, 19-27 and 28-36 respectively), the game was truly a back-and-forth battle. Heading into the fourth quarter down by eight points, the Trojans were ready to fight until the end.

Freshman standout Grace Fincham started off the final quarter for the Trojans with a layup to get to 30-40. Soon after with five minutes left on the clock, Grinnell commit Carolyn Pierce ’23 made a run down the stretch, which resulted in Lucy Wolf ’24 scoring a three-pointer to bring the score to 33-42. Pierce then scored a three-pointer to get to 36-42.

Quickly following, Dartmouth commit Meena Tate ’23 took a Linn Mar turnover down the court for a layup, making it a four-point game 38-42. Another three-pointer from Wolf kept the score within four points 41-45. However, Linn Mar held strong and kept making their shots, eventually bringing the score to 41-49 with little time left in the game.

A defensive rebound and layup from Carnegie Mellon commit Anna Prouty ’23 and a layup from Tate weren’t enough to bring the Trojans into the lead, but with a three-pointer at the buzzer from Fincham, the girls ended the game in fighting spirits 48-58.

Also, Prouty accomplished a big feat with nine boards against Linn Mar, putting her in the 500 rebound club at West High.

At 7:30 p.m., the boys basketball team jumped into action with Jacob Koch ’24 scoring the first points for the Trojans with a three-pointer, making the score 3-3. Similar to the girls, the first half was comprised of back-and-forth scores from West and Linn Mar. Going into the second half 24-28, the Trojans turned it up a notch.

TaeVeon Stevens ’24 started off the succession of rapid scores from West with two points. Then, Jack McCaffery ’25 made four consecutive shots, getting the score to 35-36. Smooth shots and assists from freshman phenom Julian (Juju) Manson, Stevens and McCaffery got the Trojans to a 14-point lead to end the third quarter 54-40.

But, Linn Mar was not giving up. Other than a layup from Koch to get the last quarter started for the Trojans and then a layup from Manson, West went scoreless until McCaffery made a free throw with about three minutes left in the game, making the score 59-55.

With two minutes and 30 seconds left on the clock, Linn Mar tied the score at 59-59. Not long after, a solid layup and free throw combination from Stevens got West back into the lead 62-59. However, time was running out — with 12.8 seconds left, the score was tied again at 63-63. Many timeouts later and then with 0.8 of a second left, Linn Mar tried to inbound it, but Aidan Jacobsen ’24 caught the ball, bringing the game to overtime.

The small, but mighty, West student section was on their feet, cheering loud for their boys basketball team throughout the game, but especially during the close and tense four minutes of overtime. Tipped to Linn Mar to start, Linn Mar was able to score the first four points of overtime, bringing it to 63-67.

Two free throws from Stevens and a three-pointer from Koch got the score within one point 68-69 with 90 seconds left. Then, from one minute to 33 seconds left, the score remained at 68-71. With a layup and a free throw from McCaffery, the Trojans got even closer to getting back into the lead at 71-72. But, time was not in their favor. With 0.9 of a second left, a missed shot from Koch ended the intense game 71-72.

Both the girls and boys basketball teams have an exciting, but demanding, week ahead. Cheer on the girls team as they face off with Waterloo West Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the West High Main Gym. The boys team will also compete against Waterloo West Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m., but 90 minutes away at Waterloo West High School. The week will end Jan. 27 with a doubleheader at home in the West High Main Gym versus cross-town rival City High. Catch the girls playing at 6 p.m. and the boys at 7:30 p.m.