Waukee advances to State with win over Valley
It took a big swing in the second half, but the Waukee boys’ basketball team is heading to the State Tournament next week. The Warriors beat West Des Moines Valley 65-47 at Johnston High School on Tuesday in the Substate finals and will get a chance to play at Wells Fargo Arena.
This will be the sixth time in school history that the Warriors have qualified for the State Tournament and the first time since 2012. The Warriors have never won a State Tournament game and are 0-5 overall in State Tournament games.
At halftime, the Warriors looked inferior to the Tigers as they trailed 21-16. Waukee senior Anthony Nelson carried the load for the Warriors in the first half with 10 points as the team’s leading scorer, Michael Jacobson was held to just one point.
Waukee coach Justin Ohl said that “a lot” needed to change as they came out of the locker room for the second half.
“We needed to get the ball inside, we needed to move the ball,” said Ohl. “I thought they did a good job being physical with us and we didn’t really adjust, we just kind of took it.
“I thought our defensive effort, really trying to make it tough on Turner (Scott) was a big key. Parker Howe and Trevor Allen did an unbelievable job.”
Turner Scott had 17 points in the game for the Tigers, but they were led in scoring by Quinton Curry, who had 19 points.
Things changed in a big way in the second half as the Warriors scored 47 points in the second half to the Tigers’ 26. Jacobson scored 16 points in the final two quarters and finished with 17 points while Nelson was the leading scorer in the game with 23 points.
Jacobson echoed his coaches thoughts about needing to play more physical in the second half.
“We knew we had to play tougher and play harder or it was over,” said Jacobson.
The win over the Tigers is the second of the year for the Warriors as they beat Valley 61-51 back on Jan. 6 at Waukee Field House.
The Warriors will be looking for the first State Tournament victory in school history in the first round on Wednesday, March 11 against North Scott. The game at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines will begin at 2:45 p.m.