CEDAR FALLS — It had everything a fan would expect in a rematch of two teams that were in the Class 4A boys’ basketball state championship game last March.
There was good defense. There was great offensive execution. There was hustle and there was fight, and in the end there were clutch shots.
Seventh-ranked Cedar Falls scored five of the last six points as the Tigers rallied to beat fourth-ranked Iowa City West, 59-56, Friday in a Mississippi Valley Conference crossover game.
Logan Wolf’s 3-pointer with 44 seconds left put Cedar Falls (8-2 overall) ahead for good, 57-55, and his two free throws with 16 seconds left helped the Tigers seal the victory over the Trojans (8-2).
“I had to trust my shot and know it was going to go in,” said Wolf of his step-back shot over 6-foot-9 Even Brauns. “Every time I shoot I think it is going to go in, and when I shot that it felt good and I made it.”
In a back-and-forth game that was tied 25-all at halftime and saw Iowa City West lead most of the time, the Tigers had enough resolve and perseverance down the stretch to find a way to win.
The Trojans led by three after three quarters, 49-46, and by four after a 3-pointer by Brayden Adcock with 4:28 left in the game. But that was the last field goal Iowa City West scored as Cedar Falls held the Trojans to just three made free throws over the final four minutes.
“It was kind of what we did in the past,” Cedar Falls coach Ryan Schultz said of the defensive effort. “We didn’t want them to feel too good and get in a rhythm so we switched our defenses a lot. I think the zone hurt them early in the game, and then they got comfortable with it so we just switched out of it.
“We kind of said, we can’t do that anymore.”
Cedar Falls got a huge night from Jack Campbell, who scored 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Nineteen of Campbell’s points came in the second half. His offensive rebound and putback got the Tigers within 53-52 and another offensive rebound and putback with 1:33 left gave Cedar Falls its first lead since 13-12 at the end of one quarter.
“Everybody knows he is a tremendous athlete and a tremendous competitor, but I don’t think people give him enough credit for how good of a basketball player he is,” Schultz said of the 6-foot-4 Campbell.
Campbell, the Iowa football recruit, and Trojan Patrick McCaffery, the Iowa basketball recruit who led all scorers with 26 points, matched each other nearly point-for-point in the second half.
Iowa City West threatened to pull away in the third as the Trojans scored on nine of their first 10 possessions, with McCaffery scoring 13 of those points, and Marcus Morgan adding a pair of 3-pointers. Iowa City West led by as much as five in the third, but Campbell was just as hot on the other end, scoring 11 third-quarter points to keep the Tigers within striking distance.
“It just took a whole team effort on everybody’s part,” Campbell said. “My teammates, give them credit, they got me the ball and when you are three feet away from the hoop it is a high percentage shot.”
Iowa City West had a chance to tie it with 20 seconds left, but Brauns missed the second of a two-shot foul, leaving the Tigers with a 57-56 lead. The Trojans were forced to foul Wolf, who made both his free throws. Then Iowa City West worked the clock down, but McCaffery’s shot with five seconds left and a pair of Cedar Falls defenders on him was off the mark and the Tigers snared the rebound.
“Again, just a great team win, and obviously, we made some clutch shots at the end there,” Campbell said.”
The victory came three days after the Tigers had a disappointing loss to Cedar Rapids Prairie, 73-65.
“It was fun. I think it is a good measuring stick for our kids to see what ... maybe ... what the possibilities are and where we are at as a basketball team. That is one of the best basketball teams in the state,” Schultz added.
“We battled to the end and that is what I’m most proud about.”
Ced. Falls 59, IC West 56
IOWA CITY WEST (8-2, 6-2) — Patrick McCaffery 10-16 5-6 26, Even Brauns 1-4 4-6 6, Marcus Morgan 3-5 0-0 9, Nick Pepin 3-7 0-0 9, Brayden Adcock 1-3 0-0 3, Tom Crane 0-2 2-2 2, Jacob Klein 0-0 0-0 0, Joey Goodman 0-2 1-2 1. Totals 18-39 12-16 56.
CEDAR FALLS (8-2, 6-2) — Josh Ollendieck 3-11 0-0 8, Logan Wolf 4-16 3-5 13, Jackson Frericks 1-4 2-2 4, Jack Campbell 12-15 1-3 25, Chase Courbat 2-4 0-0 4, Mason Abbas 2-4 0-0 4, Ben Sernett 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 24-55 7-12 59.
IC West 12 13 21 10 — 56
Cedar Falls 13 12 18 16 — 59
3-point goals — Iowa City West 8 (McCaffery, Morgan 3, Pepin 3, Adcock). Cedar Falls 4 (Ollendieck 2, Wolf 2). Total fouls — Iowa City West 13, Cedar Falls 17. Fouled out — none.