DES MOINES - Iowa City West head coach Steve Bergman called it a 'Dondre Four-Minute Moment.'
In reality, it was a 16-minute exhibition of dominance by Dondre Alexander.
The Trojan junior scored 22 second-half points and corralled perhaps the best player in the state on the other end to help earn Iowa City West a berth into tonight's Class 4A Iowa High School State Boys Basketball Tournament with a 71-51 victory over defending champion Linn-Mar on Friday.
T-R PHOTO BY ROSS THEDE
Iowa City West guard Dondre Alexander, right, drives in for a layup as Linn-Mar defender Andy Henry flies by during the fourth quarter of their Class 4A state semifinal game on Friday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Alexander emerged from a 1-for-5 first-half performance to go 9-of-10 after the break to contribute to West's 20-of-25 (80 percent) shooting in the game's last two quarters.
"We were taking the same shots we were in the first half, we just made them the second half," said Alexander, who shot 10-of-15 from the field with five rebounds, three assists and two blocks on his day's rsum.
The Trojans (25-0) took a tenuous two-point lead into the fourth quarter, but a 21-8 run to start the frame put them up 15 and ended the chance for Linn-Mar (20-5) to repeat as champions.
The Lions ousted the Trojans in this very round a year ago.
"I feel like we've been working for this all year," Alexander said. "I think it just came down to who wanted it more.
"We didn't want to end our season the same way we did last year, to the same team."
This year the Trojans' fate will be decided against Sioux City East (21-3) tonight at 8:05 p.m.
Paige finished with 24 points on 10-of-22 shooting, but was just 1-of-9 from distance and 6-for-15 overall after halftime.
His steal and layup at the 5:20 mark of the fourth brought the Lions to within 48-44 of the Trojans.
Alexander answered with a 3 and three-point play on back-to-back possessions and the rout was on as the Trojans stacked up 13 of the game's next 15 points.
"We had them where we wanted them. They came out on fire," said Paige. "This is an experienced (IC West) group. Last year, they weren't as experienced when we were down here. We were able to take advantage of that.
"They're back this year, they're ready to go. They took full advantage of their opportunities."
"He had that 'Dondre Four-Minute Moment,'" said Bergman, selling his 6-foot-3 guard's run of success a bit short. "He can make plays."
Three other Trojans joined Alexander in double-figures with Wyatt Lohaus tallying 15, Jake Gylten 11 and Myzeah Batie-Gaddy 10 as West nearly singed the nets with its scorching shooting.
"We ran our stuff the second half. We actually ran a few sets that we didn't do the first half," noted Bergman. "We've had these sets the whole year, but we don't use them much."
"That was kind of fresh and brought some structure to our game," he added, "and I thought we did a good job of getting into it and taking good shots during that stretch."
The Trojans will enter tonight's contest against the Black Raiders and their 7-foot-1 star and University of Iowa commit Adam Woodbury looking for their first state title since 2000.
"It feels good," said Alexander, "to finally be here."