CEDAR FALLS — High octane might not even be close to describing how Bolingbrook (Ill.) plays offense.
Cedar Falls, the defending Iowa Class 4A state champion, knew there was no way it could play that fast.
Sticking to their game plan of getting back fast on defense and then switching up zone defenses, the Tigers confused the fifth-ranked team in Illinois Friday to pull out a 71-64 victory in the nightcap of the Jerry Slykhuis Memorial Basketball Showcase.
“We took what we worked on in practice and brought it to the floor,” Cedar Falls coach Ryan Schultz said. “That is always a challenge. You never know if you are going to have a team that can do that. Sometimes things look the right way in practice and feel pretty good, and then you can’t bring them to the floor.
“I thought we did a tremendous job tonight of bringing all that.”
Cedar Falls (1-1) held Bolingbrook 24 points below its 88.4 season average, as the Raiders were forced to take long-range shots they didn’t want to take. It was Bolingbrook’s first loss of the season and the first time it had been held under 80 points.
“Our big goals were limit transition points ... we didn’t even take the ball out of bounds this week,” Schultz said. “We just flew. That is the only way you can try to come close to simulating their transitions. That is what they like to do.
“Limit their transition, and make them think a little bit on offense, shoot from the outside, and take care of the ball. Those were our three goals and we did a good job.”
The game started at a slow pace and stayed that way. Bolingbrook (5-1) took the early lead, but with 27 seconds left in the first quarter, Ben Sernett drained a 3-pointer for the Tigers, and Cedar Falls never trailed again.
“We really wanted to slow the game down and play at our pace,” said Cedar Falls’ Logan Wolf. “We worked on those zones all week, and I think that helped us.”
The game was never tied after Sernett’s triple.
The Tigers pushed their first-half lead to as much as 20-10, only to see Bolingbrook finally score in transition to cut its deficit to three at half, 25-22.
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Drake recruit Joseph Yesufu hit a pair of free throws and scored on a lay-up to make it 27-26 Cedar Falls 1:07 into the third, but a 3-pointer by Wolf, who led all scorers with 23 points, and a conventional three-point play by Jack Campbell quickly pushed the Tigers’ lead back to seven.
Cedar Falls led by as much as 12 in the third before Bolingbrook closed the quarter on a 9-0 run to get to within 45-42.
That was as close as the Raiders would get, however, as Cedar Falls was strong down the stretch. Wolf scored 12 of his points in the fourth quarter, and Josh Ollendieck scored nine of the Tigers’ 19 bench points in the fourth.
Bolingbrook head coach Rob Brost, a Cedar Falls native, said his team struggled with the Tigers’ size. The Raiders played most of the game with just one player taller than 6-foot-2 on the court, while Cedar Falls’ lineup many times did not feature a guy shorter than 6-2.
“First off, they are enormous compared to us, and we didn’t shoot the ball very well,” Brost said. “They really took us out of our transition which is what we like to do. They had a great game plan, and they executed it, and really to a T.”
Yesufu finished with 21 points, while Jordan Myrick added 13. The Raiders were without Northern Illinois recruit Tyler Cochran, who was on the bench in sweats.
Ced. Falls 71, Bolingbrook 64
BOLINGBROOK (5-1) — Joseph Yesufu 7-16 6-8 Kameran Leonard 0-2 0-20, Isiah Burd 1-1 0-0 3, Tyrique McMurrin 2-3 5-6 9, Kyonte Thomas 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 21-48 14-20 64.
CEDAR FALLS (1-1) — Logan Wolf 9-13 4-6 23, Mason Abbas 2-4 0-0 4, Jack Campbell 3-5 3-3 9, Chase Courbat 0-3 0-0 0, Jackson Frericks 3-4 1-3 8, Josh Ollendieck 5-6 7-8 19, Jaxon Heth 0-3 3-4 3, Cael Loecher 1-1 0-0 2, Ben Sernett 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 24-41 18-24 71.
Bolingbrook 8 14 20 12 — 64
Cedar Falls 10 15 20 16 — 71
3-point goals — Bolinbrook 7 (Yesufu, Myrick 3, Burford 2, Burd). Cedar Falls 5 (Wolf, Frericks, Ollendieck 2, Sernett). Total fouls — Bolingbrook 20, Cedar Falls 19.