Prep Basketball

Akacia Brown's work on the boards sends Xavier to its first loss

Girls' basketball: Cedar Falls rules the second half in 67-57 triumph

CEDAR RAPIDS — Tucked in Tom Lilly’s wallet is a quote from Bill Fennelly.

“When you’re facing a team that has two exceptional kids, like Cedar Falls does, you’ve got to have two kids that match them,” Lilly said. “And you’ve got to find one other kid that’s going to surprise everybody.”

Instead, it was Cedar Falls that had that surprise. It was Akacia Brown, and she was the difference.

Brown led the Tigers’ second-half rebounding assault, and Class 5A fifth-ranked Cedar Falls pulled away from 4A No. 5 Cedar Rapids Xavier, 67-57, in a non-conference girls’ basketball game Friday night at Ron Thillen Gymnasium.

An elite volleyball player who has committed to Mississippi State University, Brown used her jumping skills to grab 12 rebounds in the second half alone. She finished with 14 boards to accompany 11 points off the bench.

Emerson Green paced the Tigers (7-0) with 17 points and seven assists; Ayana Barney tallied 16 points. Those are the “two exceptional kids” to whom Lilly — the Xavier head coach — was referring.

The Saints (7-1) shot to a 10-1 lead and still held a 32-28 advantage at halftime. But the Tigers owned the second half thanks to a 22-9 rebounding advantage.

“They exposed some of our flaws,” said Xavier’s Emily Jasper, who registered her own double-double: 12 points and 12 rebounds. “We’ve been playing pretty well, but tonight showed us we still have a lot of work to do on defense and boxing out.”

Brown scored back-to-back baskets, the second on a putback, to give the Tigers the lead for good at 46-42 late in the third quarter.

Xavier was still in striking range at 60-54 when Jasper converted two free throws with 3:04 remaining, but Cedar Falls scored the next six points and pulled away.

Freshman Aree Beckmann led the Saints with 14 points. Aubrey Jones joined Jasper with 12.

The teams will meet again Jan. 4 at Cedar Falls; that game will count in the MVC standings.

CEDAR FALLS 67, CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER 57

At C.R. Xavier

CEDAR FALLS (67): Sarah Albaugh 2-6 1-2 6, Anaya Barney 6-12 4-6 16, Emerson Green 5-13 6-12 17, McKenna Gleason 2-5 0-1 5, Lexie Godfrey 3-4 2-2 9, Tjaden Petersen 1-1 0-0 3, Akacia Brown 4-8 3-4 11, Madison Hurley 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-49 16-27 67.

C.R. XAVIER (57): Caitlynn Daniels 3-10 0-0 6, Aubrey Jones 4-6 4-6 12, Libby Arnold 4-8 0-2 8, Julia Shoger 0-1 1-2 1, Emily Jasper 4-14 4-4 12, Brielle Bastian 2-2 0-0 4, Aree Beckmann 7-13 0-0 14. Totals 24-55 9-14 57.

Halftime: Xavier 32, Cedar Falls 28. 3-point goals: Cedar Falls 5-13 (Albaugh 1-4, Barney 0-2, Green 1-2, Gleason 1-3, Godfrey 1-1, Petersen 1-1), Xavier 0-5 (Daniels 0-2, Arnold 0-1, Beckmann 0-2). Team fouls: Cedar Falls 12, Xavier 19. Fouled out: Jones. Rebounds: Cedar Falls 35 (Brown 14), Xavier 28 (Jasper 12). Assists: Cedar Falls 10 (Green 7), Xavier 8 (Daniels 5). Steals: Cedar Falls 6 (Barney, Green 2), Xavier 11 (Daniels 4). Turnovers: Cedar Falls 16, Xavier 15.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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