SIOUX CITY -- An early season matchup of talented metro boys basketball teams Friday night showed that both East and West have a lot to look forward to this winter.
East came away a 69-65 winner in an intense contest at East High, regrouping after the visiting Wolverines erased a 13-point halftime deficit to take the lead early in the fourth quarter.
Aidan Vanderloo tossed in a game-high 24 points for the Black Raiders, playing just their second game of the season. Vanderloo, a 6-2 senior, scored six points in a row after a layup by Micah McWell with 6:37 left in the game gave West a 54-53 lead.
West led 19-16 after one quarter before East dominated the second, outscoring the Wolverines 22-6 to take a 38-25 halftime advantage.
Back came West, however, ringing up 25 third-quarter points and pulling within 53-50 at the break. Adien Belt, who had a double-double with 18 points and 14 rebounds, put in a rebound shot and McWell made a layup to put the Wolverines in front early in the fourth.
After Vanderloo’s flurry the game remained tight the entire final stanza. West tied it at 59-59 on a 3-pointer by Kyrel Hanks with 3:21 left and again at the 1:44 mark when Cliff McCray put in a rebound shot.
East made four key free throws in the final 22 seconds to preserve the victory. West had a final chance to tie in the closing seconds but Belt missed a 3-pointer from the corner and Jaleque Dunson made two free throws to give East a four-point cushion.
“It was a great city battle, I thought it would be close to something like that and it was,” East Coach Ras Vanderloo said. “I thought we played very well in the first half and West has good players and they got it rolling in the second half.
“Aidan went on that little streak in the fourth to keep us in it and I thought he looked great. (Javonte) Keck was incredible in the first half. He’s crazy athletic and people don’t know about it yet but they’re going to.”
Keck, a 6-7 senior, scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the first half. He finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds, while Dunson had 12 points and Jack Peterson seven points and 11 boards.
West’s McCray tallied 21 points, Belt 18 and McWell 13. The Wolverines held a 41-39 rebound edge.
“The magnitude and energy level of this game was very high,” West Coach CoCo Cofield said. “We just have to keep trying to match that and stay at that level.
“I preach to my boys a lot possession by possession and we have to make sure we take care of those possessions. We have a lot to look forward to and we’re going to continue to play at a high level and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.”
The loss was the first of the season for West after opening with wins over Sergeant Bluff-Luton, Council Bluffs Abraham Lincoln and North.