CEDAR FALLS—Although the girls state basketball tournament doesn’t start until next week, Tuesday night, seventh-ranked Cedar Falls and No. 10 West Des Moines Valley played a state worthy contest.
Valley rallied from a double-digit deficit to force overtime, before Cedar Falls pulled away in the four-minute extra period for an exciting 58-49 Class 5A regional final victory.
The Tigers earned their second consecutive trip and sixth in the last seven years. It will be Cedar Falls’ 13th overall state tournament appearance.
Cedar Falls will open state tournament play against second-seeded Johnston at 1 p.m. Monday.
“This was a great game and they (Valley) are a very good team,” CF coach Gregg Groen said. “It wasn’t easy and when they started pressing us late, it was definitely a momentum changer.”
Cedar Falls held a 40-32 lead heading into the fourth quarter when Valley began to press the Tigers hard. The result was significant for Valley as they forced five turnovers and picked up three steals to begin creeping back into the game.
Valley had trailed by 12 with six minutes left in the game, and by nine with four. But with five seconds left Hayley Chappell hit a driving lay-up to the tie the game at 46-all and send it into overtime.
“We talked about them pressing a lot but they never showed it to us until that fourth quarter,” said Groen. “They are really good at that trap game and they gained all the momentum heading into overtime.”
Cedar Falls was held in check throughout the second half as they could only muster six points in the third and fourth periods.
As overtime started sophomore guard Jasmine Barney put up the only field goal for Cedar Falls, a 3-pointer that changed the momentum back to the Tigers bench.
“When the game went into overtime I was kind of nervous,” said senior guard Anaya Barney. “We did figure out the press they were running and knew that it is now a brand new game. Anything could happen and we came out with a new energy. This was a big game for us and it was a battle that will help us down at state. WE just have to stay focused.”
Barney finished as the game's top scorer with 22 points.
The game was still close when Sarah Albaugh went to the line for Cedar Falls with a five-point lead and 34 seconds remaining. Albaugh put the game out of reach as she sank both her charities making it a three-possession contest.
“I just wanted to get to the line and make my two shots,” said Albaugh who collected 11 points in the game. “I had confidence that I could make them, and it gave us some much needed relief when they both went in. Now we will have a very long wait until next week and we will spend a lot of time at practice. This is what we kept pushing for and now we have it.”
“I think the big play was Jas (Barney) hitting that three in the overtime,” said Groen. “That gave the girls more energy and put momentum back on our side. Sarah hitting them big free throws late really helped us clinch the game. I have learned to never celebrate a win until there are zeros left on the time clock.”
Cedar Falls 58, WDM Valley 49
VALLEY (10-7)—Jayci Loecke 0 0-0 0, Elise Jaeger 2 0-0 6, Hayley Chappell 2 5-6 9, Meredith Rieker 5 0-0 14, Sophia Hope 6 0-0 13, Maddie Brown 2 1-2 7, Elise Carver 0 0-0 0, Emily Strawn 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 6-8 49.
CEDAR FALLS (17-3)—Sarah Albaugh 4 2-2 11, Anaya Barney 8 5-10 22, Grace Knutson 4 0-0 9, Sydney Remmert 0 2-5 2, Jasmine Barney 3 2-3 9, Anna Sandvold 1 2-2 5, Morgan Linck 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 14-22 58.
Valley 9 17 6 14 3—49
Cedar Falls 19 15 6 6 12—58
3-point goals—Valley 9 (Rieker 4, Brown 2, Jaeger 2, Hope), CF 5 (Sandvold, J. Barney, Knutson,Albaugh, Barney.). Total fouls—Valley 21, CF 14. Fouled out—Valley—Rieker, Loecke, Cedar Falls—J. Barney.