CEDAR FALLS — With a name like Emerson Green, perhaps it’s only fitting that Cedar Falls’ talented junior guard has the green light to pull up nearly anywhere across the time line.
Green walked into an NBA-range 3-pointer and pulled up for a second timely shot from distance in the fourth quarter as Class 5A’s No. 3-ranked Cedar Falls held off 4A’s No. 5 Cedar Rapids Xavier, 57-46, Friday night at Cedar Falls High School.
“Those are big shots at big times,” Cedar Falls coach Gregg Groen said. “She always has that freedom to shoot. They gave her a little bit of a window there and she was able to step up and hit those 3s. That ended up being a big difference in the basketball game.”
Cedar Falls (10-0) never trailed, finding answers whenever Xavier (8-3) started to put together a run. Green paced the Tigers with eight of her game-high 16 points coming in the final quarter. Sophomore teammate Anaya Barney overcame an 0-for-5 effort from distance by attacking the hoop for 14 points.
Xavier’s Caitlynn Daniels cut her team’s deficit to four at the end of an 8-0 run that carried through the start of the fourth quarter and made it a five-point game twice over the final 2:31, but Cedar Falls answered on all three ensuing possessions.
“We knew we needed to turn the game and start getting it in our favor,” Green said. “Coach told us to stay aggressive, and if they gave us the shot we were going to try and take it. That’s what we did.”
This marks Cedar Falls’ second win over Xavier in less than a month. The Saints’ only other loss this season was by a single point to 5A’s No. 1 Iowa City High prior to Christmas break.
“They’re very good defensively and they put us in a position in the third quarter where we took a lot of tough shots, shots that we probably don’t shoot in practice,” Xavier coach Tom Lilly said. “As a result of that, we weren’t putting the ball in the basket. They rebound so well that they just turn around and go right back and put pressure on you. That’s really where the game was separated.”
Cedar Falls’ frontcourt rotation of McKenna Gleason — who left the game with an apparent knee injury in the fourth quarter — and Akacia Brown helped neutralize Xavier’s presence on the glass.
In addition to leading the team on offense, Barney and Green set the tone for Cedar Falls’ defensive effort as they blocked multiple shots and often closed passing lanes. While Xavier used its accurate passing and speed to score in transition, the Tigers played engaged half-court defense for lengthy stretches against a disciplined team.
Xavier was held to just five points during a third quarter that saw Cedar Falls build its largest lead of 12 points.
“Barney and Green stay in a stance, they work hard, and I think they look like they take pride in their defensive efforts,” Lilly said. “As a guard court, they’re going to give just about anybody they face some opportunities to have to work extremely hard in order to score. That’s what they did to our kids.
“We need to learn from their defensive effort and try to instill that kind of stuff into our game.”
“Defense, we knew we were going to have to step up,” Green said. “They had some really good shooters and they could all take it off the dribble. We really worked on coming off the ball screens and knowing when to switch and that really helped us out in this game.”
Cedar Falls 57, Xavier 46
CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER (8-3) — Caitlynn Daniels 4-12 1-2 11, Aubrey Jones 1-5 0-0 2, Libby Arnold 5-6 0-0 10, Julia Shoger 0-3 2-2 2, Emily Jasper 4-12 3-3 11, Brielle Bastian 0-0 0-0 0, Mary Moeder 0-0 0-0 0, Aree Beckmann 4-9 2-2 10. Totals 18-47 8-9 46.
CEDAR FALLS (10-0) — Sarah Albaugh 2-6 0-0 5, Anaya Barney 5-11 4-5 14, Emerson Green 4-12 5-6 16, McKenna Gleason 3-5 0-0 6, Lexie Godfrey 2-5 4-4 10, Akacia Brown 3-6 0-1 6, Tjaden Peterson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-46 13-16 57.
C.R. Xavier 14 10 5 17 — 46
Cedar Falls 18 11 10 17 — 57
3-point goals — Xavier 2 (Daniels 2), Cedar Falls 6 (Green 3, Godfrey 2, Albaugh). Total fouls — Xavier 16, Cedar Falls 8. Fouled out — none.