Boys Basketball

UNI signee AJ Green scores 28 points as Cedar Falls downs Cedar Rapids Jefferson, 74-67

Boys' basketball: Added size, versatility and leadership gives Green a well-rounded game

CEDAR RAPIDS — Sure, the customary deep shots are still pure.

But this year, there is more to AJ Green’s game than 3-pointers.

The Cedar Falls senior scored a game-high 28 points as the Tigers defeated Cedar Rapids Jefferson, 74-67, in a Mississippi Valley Conference boys’ basketball game Tuesday night at Jefferson.

“He’s added another dimension to his game as far as being able to put the ball on the floor a little bit more this year,” Cedar Falls Coach Ryan Schultz said. “He’s very strong with finishing at the rim. I think he’s getting to the free-throw line more, which is helping him, too.”

Green made six 3-pointers and added another 10 points off drives to the basket and free-throws, where he is converting at a better than 95-percent clip this season. His scoring average is now over 25 points per game, which is 10th in the state.

Even with such notable offensive aptitude, Green is focused on the intangibles.

“Now that this is my fourth year, I’ve become a better leader vocally,” Green said. “In the past, I did a decent job of leading by example. This year, I’ve tried to be vocal out there and talk.”

The 6-foot-3, 160-pound guard — the 87th-ranked recruit in the country according to Rivals — signed with Northern Iowa in November over scholarship offers from Iowa State, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota State and Virginia.

“I just grew up around the program my whole life, my dad is there,” said Green, whose father Kyle is an assistant with the Panthers. “It’s going to mean a lot for me to have him at every game coaching me. My family, everybody will be able to come and watch.”

Cedar Falls (6-3, 5-1 MVC) led by as many as 17 points in the first half, but the J-Hawks scored 11 in a row to get within six at 38-32 by halftime. A 21-9 surge to begin the second half — which included eight points and an assist by Green — gave the Tigers their biggest lead at 59-41 early in the fourth quarter.

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“AJ is one of the purest shooters that I’ve ever seen in the state of Iowa,” Jefferson Coach Brandon Horman said. “He can get his shot off any time he wants. He’s worked so hard to perfect his game. He can go right over top of you, he’s got such a high release. He’s fun to watch.”

Junior center Jack Campbell posted 15 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for Cedar Falls, while junior guard Logan Wolf added 11 points, four rebounds and six assists.

Willie Guy III led Jefferson (3-6, 2-4) with 19 points and five rebounds, while sophomore Raejzuan Shockley scored 15 points off the bench.

AT C.R. JEFFERSON

CEDAR FALLS (74): AJ Green 8 6-6 28, Logan Wolf 5 0-2 11, Ben Gerdes 2 4-4 8, Jackson Frericks 2 1-2 6, Jack Campbell 7 1-4 15, Mason Abbas 2 0-0 5, Sam Gary 0 0-0 0, Tate Johnson 0 0-0 0, Reese Gardner 0 1-2 1, Totals 26 13-20 74.

C.R. JEFFERSON (67): Ozzie Meiborg 4 0-0 10, Kyler Bell 2 6-8 12, Kyran Ligon 2 0-0 4, Willie Guy III 8 1-2 19, TJ Kuennen 3 0-0 7, Brayden Frazier 0 0-0 0, Raejzuan Shockley 6 2-5 15, Blaze Bouzek 0 0-0 0, Ryan Blum 0 0-0 0, Totals 25 9-15 67.

Cedar Falls 25 13 19 17—74

C.R. Jefferson 18 14 9 26—67

Halftime — Cedar Falls, 38-32. Three-point goals — Cedar Falls 9 (Green 6, Wolf 1, Frericks 1, Abbas 1), Jefferson 8 (Guy III 2, Meiborg 2, Bell 2, Shockley 1, Kuennen 1). Rebounds — Cedar Falls 29 (Campbell 10), Jefferson 19 (Guy III 5). Assists — Cedar Falls 14 (Wolf 5), Jefferson 11 (Bell 3). Total fouls — Cedar Falls 14, Jefferson 17. Fouled out — None.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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