The Waukee boys’ basketball team, after winning their first ever State Tournament game in the first round, ended up taking third place, their highest finish in school history, in this year’s tournament. They lost to Iowa City West in the semifinals, but won the third place game against West Des Moines Valley on Friday, March 9 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
The Warriors outscored the Tigers in three out of four quarters for a dominant 61-47 win on the final day of the tournament. The Warriors were led by Noah Hart, who put up 16 points, pulled down seven rebounds, dished out five assists and recorded five blocks.
Waukee vs. Iowa City West
The Warriors held their own against the defending State Champions on Thursday night and even had a 3-point halftime lead. The Iowa City West Trojans, however, heated up in the second half, stopping the Warriors in the semifinals with a 58-50 win.
The Warriors were 10-of-22 (45.5 percent) from the field in the first half and kept a similar pace in the second half, going 10-of-23 (43.5 percent) on field goal attempts, but the Trojans showed a drastic change of pace from one half to the next. The Trojans shot 7-of-17 (41.2 percent) in the first half and 12-of-21 (57.1 percent) in the second half, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc.
The Warriors were 2-of-4 from 3-point range in the first half, but just 2-of-7 in the second half. The Warriors were also just 6-of-12 from the free throw line while the Trojans connected on 14-of-20 shots from the charity stripe.
Iowa City West’s Hakeen Odunsi made only nine 3-point attempts on the year going into the State Semifinals, but connected on all four of his shots from long range against the Warriors and finished with a game-high 18 points. Sevbian Sims and Patrick McCaffery scored 14 points apiece for the Trojans.
The Warriors were led by Dylan Jones and Nathan Nelson in the game, who each had double-doubles. Jones went 6-of-9 in the game and finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds while Nelson scored 10 points on a 3-of-8 performance and matched with 10 rebounds.
Jones’s and Nelson’s performances led to a big advantage on the boards as the Warriors out-rebounded the Trojans 30-18 in the game.
Noah Hart was also in double figures in scoring, putting up 11 points and dishing out six assists, although he did turn the ball over seven times. Nathan Johnson was 4-of-11 from the field, but just 1-of-5 from beyond the arc and had 11 points, and four rebounds in the game.
The Trojans move on to the State Championship game for the second straight year and, on Friday night, will play the winner of the game between Cedar Falls and West Des Moines Valley on Friday night while the Warriors will get the loser of that game at 12:15 p.m. on Friday.