Cedar Falls Stops West High Short of Class 4A State Title

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Jeff Yoder Photo / iagameday.smugmug.com

Ryan Murken

Your Prep Sports

DES MOINES – The title game history favored West High entering its Class 4A state championship clash with Cedar Falls.

Everything else on Friday belonged to the Tigers.

Playing in its first title game Cedar Falls bolted to a 7-0 lead and never trailed, dethroning defending champion West High with an emphatic 65-45 win at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

“I’ve been in both locker rooms, the winning one and the losing one and I don’t like this one as much,” West High junior Patrick McCaffery said. “They were the better team tonight, they outplayed us.”

AJ Green scored a game-high 24 points to lead three players in double figures as Cedar Falls (21-5) controlled nearly every facet of the game from the opening tip to win the first title in program history.

Cedar Falls shot 51 percent from the floor, held a 34-19 rebounding edge and limited West High (21-5) to a season-low 45 points while denying West High a fifth championship in seven seasons.

“We lived and died all year with our defense and tonight it wasn’t very good,” West High coach Steve Bergman said. “Then our defense usually feeds our offense and when you are giving up

Green was the only Tiger in double figures when he poured in 36 points in a 55-54 regular season win over West High in January.

The Northern Iowa recruit didn’t need that type of scoring performance to close his career with a title on Friday.

Logan Wolf had 14 points and Ben Gerdes added 12 for Cedar Falls which shot 55 percent in the second half.

Jack Campbell added eight points and seven rebounds for the Tigers which had 12 offensive rebounds.

“I didn’t score 36 this team but I didn’t have to this time,” Green said. “Other guys stepped up huge, everybody. The whole team, everybody made huge plays that contributed to this win.”

Cedar Falls bolted to a 7-0 lead just a minute and a half into the game setting the tone for the rest of the game.

West High trailed just 16-12 after the opening quarter but scored just two points in the opening 6:30 of the second quarter while falling into a 27-14 hole it could never fully escape.

After opening the game in man-to-man defense Cedar Falls opened the second quarter in a 2-3 zone that confounded West High.

The Trojans missed their first three field goal attempts of the second quarter, all from beyond the 3-point arc before Hakeem Odunsi scored on a putback that made it 16-14 with 6:04 left in the first half.

By the time West High scored again it was already trailing by 13 points.

“They did that the second quarter when we played them the first time and so we watched that film today and we talked about it and we felt like our mistake was shooting a bunch of 3s quick and we did the same thing tonight,” Bergman said. “It was guys trying to make plays, guys trying to win but it just caught up to us.

Cedar Falls continued to switch up its look defensively while holding West High scoreless for more than four and a half minutes during an 11-0 run.

“It was kind of our game plan to switch defenses,” Cedar Falls coach Ryan Schultz said. “They are a rhythm team and they are such a well-coached team and everyone knows their history so we thought we had to switch things up just to keep them thinking a little bit.”

West High closed the first half on a 7-0 run to get within striking distance at 27-21 but Cedar Falls opened the second half with 9-2 spurt to push the lead back to 36-23.

Green had five points during the 9-2 run in which Cedar Falls scored on four consecutive possessions.

“I thought we actually kind of extracted ourselves from that mess pretty well at half but we didn’t guard anybody the second half,” Bergman said. “It was a layup drill for them and that’s not usual.”

West High cut the lead to 38-28 on a Dante Eldridge 3-pointer with 4:37 left in the quarter but Cedar Falls put the game away with a 9-0 run to end the quarter.

Green had 10 of his game-high 24 points in the third quarter as Cedar Falls outscored West High 20-7.

“We tried to contain him and make his team beat us not him but we lost people and they got layups and he got hot,” Eldridge said. “You can’t have him score how much he scored and have his teammates scoring too. That doesn’t work.”

McCaffery scored 13 points to lead West High while Sims added 12 points and five rebounds for the Trojans.

Green finished 8-of-18 from the field on his way to a game-high 24 points and added nine rebounds and three assists.

“You want to keep (Green) under double digits but he’s a good player it’s hard to do that. I have a lot of respect for their team,” Sims said. “Everyone on that team including AJ.”

West High      12   9   7  17 – 45

Cedar Falls     16  11 20 18 – 60

West High (45) – Dante Eldridge 1-6 0-0 3, Evan Flitz 2-6 0-0 6, Seybian Sims 6-8 0-2 12, Hakeem Odunsi 2-6 0-0 5, Patrick McCaffery 4-9 4-6 13, Jake Anderson 1-3 1-1 3, Jacob Klein 1-2 0-0 3, TJ Hillberry 0-1 0-0 0, Cole Mabry 0-1 0-0 0, Team 17-42 5-11 45.

Cedar Falls (65) – AJ Green 8-18 4-4 24, Logan Wolf 5-9 4-5 14, Ben Gerdes 5-8 1-1 12, Jackson Frericks 1-3 0-0 2, Jack Campbell 4-5 0-0 8, Jacob Nelson 1-1 0-0 3, Mason Abbas 0-1 1-2 1, Reese Gardner 0-1 1-2 1, Luke Loughren 0-1 0-0 0, Team 24-47 11-14 65.

3-point field goals – ICW 6-17 (Eldridge 1-3, Flitz 2-4, Odunsi 1-2, McCaffery 1-3, Anderson 0-2, Klein 1-2, Hillberry 0-1); CF 6-11 (Green 4-9, Gerdes 1-1, Nelson 1-1). Rebounds – ICW 19 (Sims 5); CF 34 (Green 9). Assists – ICW 9 (Odunsi 4); CF 12 (Wolf 4). Turnovers – ICW 11; CF 8. Total fouls – ICW 14; CF 14. Fouled out – None. Technical fouls – None.

Class 4A All-Tournament Team

AJ Green, Cedar Falls (Captain)

Logan Wolf, Cedar Falls

Seybian Sims, West High

Patrick McCaffery, West High

Noah Hart, Waukee

Joe Wieskamp, Muscatine