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WATERLOO — In the end it was a 17-point victory.

But for much of the first 24 minutes, it was an absolute barn-burner.

Waterloo East shot 81 percent from the field (21 of 26) in the second half to pull away from Waterloo West for a 89-72 boys’ basketball victory Tuesday at Siddens Gymnasium.

Attacking the basket relentlessly, the Trojans (3-0) continually got lay-ups or short jumpers as they turned a tight game into a blowout.

“Don’t settle for 3s, keep attacking the rim, keep them on their heels,” said East guard Tyrese Nickelson, who led all scorers with 27 points, including 13 in the final eight minutes.

It was a fantastic game for three quarters, featuring 28 ties or lead changes in the opening 24 minutes. The game was tied 22-22 after one quarter, and a Ramon Harrington 3-pointer with two seconds left to half gave East a 39-35 halftime advantage.

“Awfully proud the way our kids played,” East coach Steve McGraw said. “For us to score that many points, I don’t know how long it has been since we scored that many points. It was a great win.

“You never know what is going to happen in an inter-city game, and I couldn’t be more proud of our kids.”

The back-and-forth play continued into the third quarter as West, which was coming off a win over Cedar Falls on Friday, got a conventional three-point play from Isaiah Johnson with 6 minutes, 27 seconds left in the third to take a 43-41 lead, the Wahawks’ first advantage since leading 35-32 late in the second.

East responded with back-to-back triples by Ramir Scott to retake the lead. The game was tied three more times, the last at 55 after a 3-pointer by West’s Mitch Fordyce with 2:34 left in the third. But the Trojans scored the final six points of the third and the first four of the fourth on back-to-back hoops by Jordan Wise, the second a steal and full-court layup.

From that point on West was playing catch-up, and East kept pulling away.

“Every win is making us more confident,” Nickelson said.

Three other Trojan players scored in double figures — Harrington (19), Wise (16) and Scott (12).

West, which shot 54.9 percent from the field, was led by Johnson’s 17 points while Caleb Haag had 15.

“A little inexperience caught up with us tonight, and we were god-awful on defense. A lot of that has to do with their quickness,’” West coach Cliff Berinobis said.

Girls

WEST 57, EAST 23: In the girls’ opening half of the doubleheader, the Wahawks scored the first 23 points of the game, leading 16-0 after one quarter as the Trojans missed their first 15 shots.

East’s first basket did not come until the 5:43 mark of the second quarter, a Kerris Roberts hoop.

West (3-0) led 33-4 at halftime.

“A really good team win for us tonight,” West coach Dr. Anthony Pappas said. “I thought we executed the defensive game plan really, really well. That was probably one of our best defensive outings we have ever had here. We identified the shooters and boxed out.”

Freshman Brooklyn Smith led all scorers with 17 points, while NaTracia Ceaser and Jada Draine each added 11 for the Wahawks.

Amanee Clark led East (1-2) with 13.

Boxscores

Girls

WEST 57, EAST 23

EAST (1-2) — Ellasa Horton 0-6 0-0 0, Kerris Roberts 1-11 3-7 5, Amanee Clark 5-12 0-0 13, Nia Crowley 0-3 0-2 0, Madison Whitson 1-1 1-2 3, Taylor Rugger 1-1 0-0 2, Laymoni Smith 0-3 0-0 0, Aaliyah Franklin 0-0 0-0 0, Key-Lajaha Jefferson-Putnam 0-0 0-0 0, Erion Gafeney 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 8-37 4-11 23.

WEST (3-0) — Gabrielle Moore 3-7 1-2 7, Lauren Conrey 3-4 1-2 9, NaTracia Ceaser 3-5 4-4 11, Jada Draine 4-15 3-4 11, Brooklyn Smith 7-8 3-6 17, Meredith Eighmey 0-1 0-0 0, Sierra Burt 0-0 0-0 0, Ashley Nystrom 0-0 0-0 0, Stacey De La Cruz 1-1 0-0 2, Jaide Domatob 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 21-42 12-18 57.

East 0 4 14 5 — 23

West 16 17 13 11 — 57

3-point goals — East 3 (Clark 3). West 3 (Conrey 2, Ceaser). Total fouls — East 14, West 15. Fouled out — Smith.

Boys

EAST 89, WEST 72

EAST (3-0) — Tyrese Nickelson 11-17 5-10 27, Ramir Scott 4-7 2-2 12, Ramon Harrington 8-12 0-0 19, Tavious Jenkins 3-6 2-4 8, Trevion Labeaux 2-3 1-2 5, Davon Higgins 0-1 0-0 0, Jordan Wise 8-9 0-0 16, Craig Willingham 0-0 0-0 0, Damon Schmidt 1-1 0-0 2, Deavonte Woods 0-0 0 -0 0. Totals 37-56 10-18 89.

WEST (1-1) — Sebastian Gunderson 2-4 2-2 7, Caleb Haag 6-14 0-0 15, Isaiah Johnson 8-14 0-0 19, Michael Robinson Jr. 4-6 3-4 12, Jaden Keller 1-1 1-1 3, Mitch Fordyce 4-7 0-0 9, Mondre Lagow 1-2 0-0 3, Amar Kuljuhovic 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 28-51 8-14 72.

East 22 17 22 28 — 89

West 22 13 20 17 — 72

3-point goals — East 5 (Scott 2, Harrington 3). West 8 (Gunderson, Haag 3, Johnson, Robinson, Fordyce, Lagow. Total fouls — East 13, West 18. Fouled out — Johnson, Keller.

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Sports Reporter

Sports reporter for The Courier

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