Prep Basketball

Unheralded Jaxon Heth comes off bench to help Cedar Falls past Cedar Rapids Prairie

Shooters gotta shoot: In a shooting slump prior, guard hits 6 3s in a 70-58 win

CEDAR RAPIDS — Shooters gotta shoot, even if they’re in a slump, and Jaxon Heth fashions himself a shooter. So does his coach.

So does everyone else who watched him Tuesday night.

“He can do that,” Cedar Falls Coach Ryan Schultz said, after his senior guard’s big night off the bench helped the Tigers past Cedar Rapids Prairie, 70-58, in a matchup of top-10 teams in Class 4A. “He’s the type of guy we know can do that.”

Heth went off for 21 points, hitting six 3-pointers, five in the first half as No. 6 CF built a double-digit lead. That included about a 30-footer from the volleyball line just before the halftime buzzer that put the Tigers ahead, 33-21.

Forgive ninth-ranked Prairie if it didn’t have this kid on its scouting report. Heth came in averaging a pedestrian three points a game and had made just 4 of 24 attempts from beyond the arc.

But ... shooters gotta shoot.

“I was just more confident in myself tonight,” Heth said. “My teammates found me in the right places. They set good screens, gave me good passes. The coaches just told me to keep shooting it, and that’s what I was going to do.”

Schultz didn’t have the specific number but guessed Heth did all of his damage in 15 minutes of playing time at best.

“When he shoots in rhythm and gets good shots, that’s when he’s really good,” Schultz said.

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“You live with that,” said Prairie Coach Jeremy Rickertsen. “Traditional thinking, that’s how you beat a zone. You’ve got to be able to make the outside shot, and they were doing it.”

With Prairie (6-2) sitting in a 2-3 zone defense, the first 12 field-goal attempts and 13 of the first 14 for Cedar Falls (6-1) were of the 3-point variety. Landon Wolf made five of them in the game for the Tigers and complemented Heth with 17 points.

CF used its significant size (it plays two 6-foot-6 guys, a 6-8 guy and a 6-9 guy) a little more in the second half, leading by as many as 22 before Prairie (6-2) was able to whittle its deficit in the fourth quarter. It still wasn’t nearly enough to make the Tigers squirm.

Cedar Falls was blown out by fourth-ranked Waterloo West in its season opener but has rebounded and appears quite capable of making it a state championship three-peat in 4A.

“West was a good lesson for us,” Heth said.

Prairie was led by forward Max Lampe’s 26 points. The Hawks, who have lost two in a row, played without starting point guard Jonathan Mullins, who is out with an ankle injury incurred in Monday’s practice.

“I told the guys in the locker room that I can live with the effort that I saw tonight,” Rickertsen said. “We just need the execution, the discipline on defense, things that we can shore up. Yeah, I think (the fourth quarter) is something to build on.”

AT CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE

CEDAR FALLS (70): Landon Wolf 6-15 0-0 17, Chase Courbat 2-5 4-4 8, Josh Olliendieck 2-9 0-1 5, Ben Sernett 4-6 1-3 10, Trey Campbell 0-1 2-2 2, Carter Janssen 1-2 0-0 2, Joe Knutson 0-0 1-3 1, Jaxon Heth 6-10 3-4 21, Cael Loecher 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 23-50 11-17 70.

C.R. PRAIRIE (58): Max Lampe 9-14 4-8 26, Gabe Burkle 2-5 1-2 5, Elijah Ward 3-6 0-0 6, Caden Stoffer 2-6 0-0 5, Jake Walter 2-7 2-2 8, Garrett Pientok 0-0 0-0 0, Johnny Joens 1-3 0-0 3, Jackson Nove 1-1 1-2 3, Caleb Miller 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 21-43 8-14 58.

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Halftime — Cedar Falls 33, C.R. Prairie 21. 3-point goals — Cedar Falls 13-29 (Wolf 5-9, Ollendieck 1-6, Sernett 1-3, Campbell 0-1, Heth 6-10), Prairie 8-19 (Lampe 4-6, Burkle 0-1, Ward 0-2, Walter 2-3, Stoffer 1-4, Joens 1-3). Rebounds — Cedar Falls 31 (Wolf 10), C.R. Prairie 27 (Burkle 9). Total fouls — Cedar Falls 16, C.R. Prairie 15. Fouled out — None. Turnovers — Cedar Falls 10, C.R. Prairie 14.

Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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