SIOUX CITY | Bidding for its first win in the series since 2009, West’s boys basketball team gave East fits for three quarters.
During that time, the Wolverines missed just once in six 3-point attempts. West scored 11 points off turnovers, including a Cliff McCray steal/layup combination that produced a 30-25 lead two minutes past halftime.
Class 4A third-ranked East returned to its fast pace when Aidan Vanderloo drove for a pair of baskets in the final 24 seconds of the third quarter to force a 35-all tie. East remained quick, outscoring the Wolverines 16-6 in the game’s final eight minutes to post its 21st consecutive win in the series, 51-41.
The nephew of East Coach Ras Vanderloo dished an assist on the first of reserve Javonte Keck’s three fourth-quarter baskets to snap the deadlock en route to improving the state-ranked squad’s record to 10-1.
“We played with a little more confidence,” said Aidan Vanderloo. “Those first three quarters, I don’t know what the deal was. We were late on getting to the hoop. We could not find a way to make shots tonight, but I’m proud of the guys that we battled back and found a way to win.”
Van Rees posted his third double-double of the season as he recorded 15 points and 10 rebounds. Vanderloo, who was held to five points before his late third-quarter efforts, finished with 11 points for a squad that shot just 33.8 percent and was held 28 points below their scoring average.
West (6-5), which had rallied from brief deficits to force ties at the end of both the first and second quarters, received 13 points from DeSean Foy while Micah McWell came off the bench to tally 10.
Aidan Vanderloo credited Keck for being a spark in the fourth as the reserve had six points and three defensive rebounds as East went on a 10-3 run in the frame’s first 4 ½ minutes. West was held to just one basket in that period of time.
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“Man, he was a spark off the bench,” said coach Vanderloo. “When he plays with confidence, he’s a good player. He plays above the rim, he’s athletic, he can finish. When he plays with confidence, he helps us a lot.”
“West is an athletic team that controlled the tempo for three quarters,” said coach Vanderloo, who’s 16-0 in career against the Wolverines. “They got us slowed down. We want to go, go, go and when they slowed us down, we kind of acted like we were out of rhythm. The shots weren’t falling, but that’s basketball. Some nights they go in, some nights they don’t.”
Baskets beyond the arc in the final two minutes before halftime from Foy, Omar Maldonado and McWell helped Coach Harvis “Co Co” Cofield’s squad to a 24-all tie. Foy snapped the tie on a pair of free throws while 6-foot-5 Kory Woodruff’s offensive basket past the 6-6 Rees produced a 28-25 lead.
However, West made just one of three free throws to begin the fourth quarter. Cofield’s team was just 2-for-10 from the field in the fourth.
“We played a good three quarters, but we want to play until the clock strikes zero,” said Cofield. “There’s four quarters to a game and in the fourth quarter, you have to keep playing. They made adjustments, we made adjustments. The last couple of minutes or three minutes, we kind of let it get away from us by missing free throws and making turnovers. We have to do better at that.”
Keck’s 23 points carried East’s junior varsity to a 73-19 win over West. Marcus McCray led the Wolverines with six points.
East will host No. 5 (Class 3A) Bishop Heelan Thursday night. West is idle until Friday when it plays at North.