Waterloo West is headed to the Class 5A semifinals with its coach needing one more victory to reach a milestone.
The sixth-seeded Wahawks got their usually strong games from stars Sahara Williams and Halli Poock and a major contribution from Sierra Moore in beating third-seeded Ankeny Centennial 67-59 to conclude the 5A quarterfinals.
The victory was No. 599 at West for coach Tony Pappas, who is 631-380 overall in his 45-year career. He’ll go for No. 600 against seventh-seeded West Des Moines Valley at 11:45 a.m. Thursday.
Williams, an athletic 5-foot-11 junior who has been offered by Division I schools across the country, led the Wahawks (22-2) with 24 points on 10-for-18 shooting. She also grabbed nine rebounds, made four steals and handed out two assists.
Poock added 21 points, helped by going 10-or-12 on free throws, and Moore gave her team a big lift with 17 points and 10 rebounds. She came in averaging 6.1 points and shooting 30 percent from the field but made 6-of-9 shots in this one, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range.
West shot 55 percent for the game (22-for-40) and was especially sharp in the fourth quarter while protecting its lead, making 6-of-8 shots, including a couple of 3s, and knocking down eight free throws.
Cleao Murray led Centennial (20-4) with 23 points and Elle Street scored 12. Kennedy White added nine points, while Jaeden Pratt led the Jaguars with 10 rebounds to go with five points, two assists and two steals.
West led 31-21 at halftime, then responded every time Ankeny cut into the lead over the final two quarters.
A key stretch came when Ankeny drew to 40-37 on Averi Porter’s steal and layup with 2:08 left in the third quarter. Williams got a steal and layup of her own a minute later and Poock sank a free throw for a 43-37 lead with 16.7 seconds remaining. She missed the second shot, but Moore slipped in for the rebound and fed Williams for a layup, leaving the Wahawks up 45-37 heading into the final quarter.
Poock’s bucket at the start of the fourth quarter stretched the lead to 10 and the Wahawks led 61-49 when Moore swished a 3 from the top of the key with 3:04 to play. Centennial had no answer and West moved on.
Pappas is third among active coaches in the state with his 631 wins. Centennial’s Scott DeJong, who has produced a record seven state championship teams, is second with 667.