SIOUX CITY -- For the seven seniors on this East High basketball team, four years of high school have had one special thing in common -- a trip to the Iowa Boys State Basketball Tournament.
Adam Woodbury, Dillon Godfrey and Alex Imming, all varsity squad members since they were freshmen, have made it a perfect 4-for-4 after overcoming Council Bluffs Lewis Central's slowdown tactics in a 49-27 Class 4A substate championship game Tuesday night at the Tyson Events Center.
Woodbury and J.C. Fuller, another of the seniors, tallied 11 points each as East, the second highest scoring team in the big-school class with 70.9 points a game, patiently weathered a laborious pace to earn the Black Raiders' ninth trip to Des Moines in 12 years.
It will be the first as a head coach for East's Ras Vanderloo, succeeding his brother, Jeff, when the all-time Sioux City boys basketball win leader (295-136) stepped down to join the coaching staff at Creighton.
And, that makes Ras, the second eldest of four sons in the family Pat and the late Rich Vanderloo, the third brother to pilot a state tournament team -- a feat no Iowa family had previously accomplished.
"We want to go down there and wreak some havoc,'' said Fuller, whose 18.3 points a game gave him a slight edge on Woodbury, the 7-foot-1 University of Iowa recruit averaging 17.6 points and a Class 4A-best 11.6 rebounds.
"Nobody gives us much credit out here, but we're ready to go down there and see what happens,'' added Woodbury, who pulled down 10 missed shots and served up a game-high four assists as East improved to 19-3 on the season and 18-0 against Iowa opponents.
The Raiders, ranked No. 4 in the final poll by Associated Press, will also coincidentally be the 4A tournament's No. 4 seed, taking on fifth-seeded West Des Moines Valley, 18-5, at 1:45 p.m. next Wednesday. It will be the first of four first-round 4A matchups at the Wells Fargo Arena.
Imming added nine points, Marcel Dunson tallied six and the 6-8, 250-pound Godfrey had five rebounds to go with two baskets, both in a tedious first quarter from which East emerged with a 9-2 lead.
The Raiders went to halftime with an uncustomary 20-8 lead as the underdog Titans launched only five first-half shots and converted just one while committing 10 turnovers.
Ironically, Coach Dan Miller's team, bowing out at 17-7, came into the game as the eighth highest scoring team in 4A, averaging 60.9 points.
"It was hard for me, we don't play like that,'' said Miller, whose team lost a season opener at home against East, 61-41. "But we can't run with them. Obviously, we couldn't stop ‘em.''
Lewis Central's chances, of course, weren't helped by the severe ankle sprain leading scorer Josiah Shepherd suffered in the opening minute of the Titans' 66-64 overtime win over North in a substate semifinal.
Shepherd, 52 of 115 on the year from 3-point range and averaging an even 14 points, was in the starting lineup and saw action in all four quarters. However, the 5-11 senior guard took only one shot, missing everything with a three-point try with 1:35 remaining.
Still, after East opened up a 30-13 lead five minutes into the third quarter, Lewis Central finished the period on an 8-2 spurt to pull within 32-21 with eight minutes to play.
"I was pleased with where we were after three quarters,'' said Miller, losing a substate final to East for the second year in a row and the fifth time in as many tries over the last 11 years. "We've been in this game a lot and they've always been in the way.''
East hit 11 of 13 fourth-quarter free throws to nail things down, featuring 6-for-6 from the stripe by Fuller, a 6-3 guard who has emerged this season as a solid college prospect.
Junior guard Alex Reed, averaging 13.8 points, had nearly half Lewis Central's offense with a game-high 13 points.
This will mark the 12th consecutive year a Sioux City team has reached the Class 4A tournament with North advancing in the three seasons East has fallen short since 2001 -- 2004, 2007 and 2008.
With John Vanderloo assisting Tom Brazzell at North in 2004 and then guiding the Stars in '07 and '08, one of the Vanderloo brothers has helped coach all 12 of those state tournament teams. John is now in his first season as an assistant at East, the school where all four brothers matriculated and also where their father served 13 seasons as the head boys basketball coach and many more years as the school's athletic director.
LEWIS CENTRAL (27)
Josiah Shepherd 0-1 0-0 0, Matt Andersen 0-5 2-3 2, Lincoln Rodenberg 0-3 0-0 0, Darius McCarter 1-3 4-6 6, Alex Reed 4-9 3-3 13, Trent Rudolph 0-0 1-2 1, Tony Rew 2-6 0-2 5, LaMar Conner 0-1 0-0 0, Jaden Brouse 0-0 0-0 0, Nate Pettepier 0-1 0-0 0, Toby Korner 0-0 0-0 0, Tucker Maxwell 0-1 0-0 0, Andrew O'Reilly 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 7-30 10-16 27.
Alex Imming 3-6 2-3 9, Dillon Godfrey 2-5 0-0 4, Adam Woodbury 4-8 3-7 11, Marcel Dunson 2-9 2-2 6, J.C. Fuller 2-8 6-7 11, Taylor DeLaughter 1-2 2-2 4, Alec Lewis 1-1 0-0 2, Blake Lynch 0-1 0 -0 0, Andrew Munson 1-1 0-0 2, Ben Schwaderer 0-0 0-0 0, Wyatt Mounts 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-41 15-21 49.
Lewis Central 2 6 13 6 -- 27
East 9 11 12 17 -- 49
3-point shots -- Lewis Central 3-15 (Reed 2-5, Rew 1-3, Rodenberg 0-3, Andersen 0-2, Shepherd 0-1, McCarter 0-1), East 2-8 (Imming 1-3, Fuller 1-2, Dunson 0-2, DeLaughter 0-1). Rebounds -- Lewis Central 22 (Andersen 5), East 30 (Woodbury 10). Turnovers -- Lewis Central 13, East 7. Total fouls -- Lewis Central 19, East 16.