CEDAR FALLS — Scoring the most points means little to A.J. Green.
It’s winning that really gets juices flowing Cedar Falls High’s 6-foot-3 senior guard.
Green did both Tuesday.
He became the Tigers’ all-time leading scorer, finishing with 36 points as ninth-ranked Cedar Falls knocked off top-ranked and defending Class 4A state champion Iowa City West, 55-54, in Mississippi Valley Conference action.
“This is a huge win for us,” Green said. “We knew coming in it was going to be a battle and we just had to fight, stay tough and we did that.
“It is cool to have it (the scoring record), but getting this win was the biggest thing.”
Riding a five-game win streak, Cedar Falls entered the game wanting to measure itself against the team that has dominated Class 4A over the past decade.
Early on, it didn’t look good as the Tigers (9-3) missed their first four shots and trailed 15-4. Green had zero first-quarter points.
Then as Cedar Falls head coach Ryan Schultz put it, Green did Green things.
He scored the first eight points of the second quarter as the Tigers went on a 13-0 run to take a 17-15 lead. Green had 17 at halftime as Cedar Falls led 24-22.
Green hit a 3-pointer, one of his five on the night, with 2:37 left in the second quarter to become the all-time leading scorer in Tiger history. He finished the night with 1,438 points.
“We got down early and I thought we came out a little jittery,” Schultz said. “They are a rhythm team and we were able to switch up our defense a little bit. I thought that made them think a little more than they usually do.
“Obviously, then, Mr. Green went to work and really a ton of guys made plays tonight. We just had multiple guys do multiple things and then A.J. was just A.J.”
After trading baskets early, Iowa City West (10-1) controlled the latter half of the third quarter with baskets by Patrick McCaffery and a Jacob Anderson putback at the buzzer that gave the Trojans a 36-32 lead after three.
But once again, Green and the Tigers had the response.
Several plays factored into the Cedar Falls win, beginning with Green hitting a 3-pointer from the left corner with 6:44 to go making it 36-35. Moments later, Logan Wolf stole a pass at mid-court and raced in for a lay-up to give the Tigers the lead.
Green was phenomenal in the fourth quarter, and Cedar Falls never trailed again.
After McCaffery a bucket trimmed Cedar Falls’ lead to 40-38, Green nailed a 3-pointer with 6-foot-7 Seybain Sims in his face. Then after Evan Flitz got the Trojans within two again with 1:32 to go, Green swished home another contested three from 23 feet with 1:05 left to make it 50-45.
In addition to Green’s huge shots, Jack Campbell stuffed a McCaffery layup, and Wolf knocked the ball out of a Trojan player’s hands after an offensive rebound with the ball going out of bounds in the closing minutes.
“Logan had the steal and layup, took a charge and knocked the ball off that guy’s knee after he got a rebound. Those three were big,” Green said. “Jack got that big block and that got everybody riled up.”
Ben Gerdes and Green combined to hit four consecutive free throws in the final 13 seconds, while McCaffery missed the and-one after a layup with 5 seconds left that would’ve pulled Iowa City West within one.
That proved to be huge as McCaffery drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer after Green swished a pair of free throws with three seconds left.
Green finished 13 of 24 from the field and 5 of 6 from the line.
“Great win, but this is not the end game for us,” Schultz said. “This does give us a measuring stick and a little jolt of confidence, there is no doubt about it.
“But we need to get better. There are still areas we can get better in. We can take care of the ball a little better. We can run our stuff a little bit better. It is exciting to know we are at a place that we can play with the best teams in the state.”
McCaffery, an Iowa recruit, led Iowa City West with 20 points.
Ced. Falls 55, I.C. West 54
IOWA CITY WEST (10-1) — Dante Eldridge 1-6 0-0 3, Evan Flitz 2-7 0-0 6, Seybian Sims 7-8 0-0 14, Dadrian Hoambrecker 1-2 0-0 2, Patrick McCaffery 8-15 3-5 20, Hakeem Odunsi 1-2 0-0 2, Paul McGee 1-2 3-4 5, Brayden Adcock 0-1 0-0 0, Jacob Anderson 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 22-46 6-9 54.
CEDAR FALLS (9-3) — A.J. Green 13-24 5-6 36, Logan Wolf 4-6 0-0 8, Ben Gerdes 0-3 2-2 2, Mason Abbas 1-1 0-0 2, Jackson Frericks 2-3 0-0 4, Jack Campbell 1-3 0-0 3, Reese Gardner 0-0 0-0 0, Sam Gary 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-40 8-10 55.
I.C. West 15 7 14 18 — 54
Cedar Falls 4 20 8 23 — 55
3-point goals—I.C. West 5 (Eldridge, Flitz 2, McCaffery). Cedar Falls 5 (Green 5). Total fouls—I.C. West 15, Cedar Falls 13. Fouled out—none.
I.C. WEST SOPHS 63, C.F. SOPHS 56
IOWA CITY WEST — Grant Henderson 4, Tate Crane 26, Marcus Morgan 14, ANdrew Tauchen 3, Ben Vander Leest 14, Wade Hoffman 2.
CEDAR FALLS — Joshua Ollendieck 17, Ben Sernett 7, Cael Loecher 8, Cade McCann 4, Caiden Barnett 4, Bryce Albaugh 6, Chase Courbat 10.<&SPAGEm> </&SPAGEm>