CEDAR RAPIDS — This was better than the first time. A lot better.
But one of the top teams in Class 4A proved just too good again Friday night for the Xavier Saints.
Iowa football recruit Jack Campbell had 25 points, and eighth-ranked Cedar Falls simply overpowered them, 71-60, at Ron Thillen Gym. The Tigers shot 60 percent from the field, with most of their 30 makes coming from 5 feet and in.
It’s hard to beat 6-foot-9, 6-7, 6-5 and 6-4. When it's working the ball around to take advantage of that size, it’s impossible.
“Cedar Falls is a heck of a team,” said Xavier Coach Ryan Luehrsmann. “They play with college physicality and pace. One of the best-coached teams in the state, to go along with some of the best athletes. It’s a tall order for anyone in our league to beat them.”
Cedar Falls (7-1, 5-1 in MVC’s Mississippi Division) crushed Xavier by 25 points in mid-December. This was definitely an improvement for the Saints (4-4, 2-4), which was what Luehrsmann stressed to his team postgame.
Davis Wagner had 23 points to lead Xavier, which got behind early, 18-3, but did not quit. It was a five-point game at halftime.
“We had a little bit of a slow start,” Luehrsmann said. “If you take that out of picture, it’s probably a pretty neck-and-neck game. You have a little bit more in jeopardy going into the fourth quarter. I thought our kids paid a little bit better attention to detail of the scouting report this time around. We did a good job of taking away their transition, which was a big thing. The only thing we didn’t have an answer for was their physicality.”
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This was a career-high scoring night for the 6-5 Campbell, who will be a linebacker for the Hawkeyes. He was 12-for-13 from the field, including three dunks.
The best one came during a personal third-quarter offensive flurry in which he stole a pass at midcourt, deftly curled the recovered ball around his body from the left side to the right, dribbled in and slammed it home.
“Just a really good team win. Everyone contributed,” he said, modestly. “Our first game back from break, they gave us their best shot. We’ve got to keep building off this.”
Logan Wolf added 20 points for CF, which won last year’s 4A state title thanks in large part to the brilliance of Northern Iowa freshman guard A.J. Green. This is a different team, but no less dangerous.
Cedar Falls dropped its opener to Waterloo West but has won its last four games by an average of 23.5.
“We’ve started to build some momentum here, especially at the defensive end,” said Cedar Falls Coach Ryan Schultz. “We’re starting to get better. What I like about our team is I think we’re a little more balanced than we were last year on the offensive end, which is kind of hard to scout and making it hard to know what to do with us.”
AT CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER
CEDAR FALLS (71): Logan Wolf 8-10 4-6 20, Jackson Frericks 2-5 0-0 4, Jack Campbell 12-13 1-3 25, Mason Abbas 1-3 0-2 3, Josh Ollendieck 2-6 0-1 5, Chase Courbat 3-4 2-6 6, Ben Sernett 1-3 1-2 3, Jaxon Heth 1-6 0-0 3, Cael Loecher 0-0 0-0 0, Tenchi Porter 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-50 8-20 71.
C.R. XAVIER (60): Jaylon Moses 2-4 0-1 4, Matt Jordebrek 2-7 0-0 4, Quinn Schulte 2-5 2-2 6, Davis Wagner 9-11 5-6 25, Bryson Bastian 5-8 0-1 11, Jacob Beckmann 3-8 1-1 8, Tre McCrary 2-3 0-1 4, Nick Hansel 0-0 0-0 0, Mitch Helmkamp 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-46 8-12 60.
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Halftime — Cedar Falls 34, Xavier 29. 3-point goals — Cedar Falls 3-14 (Wolf 0-1, Frericks 0-1, Abbas 1-2, Ollendieck 1-3, Sernett 0-2, Heth 1-5), Xavier 2-8 (Schulte 0-1, Wagner 0-1, Bastian 1-4, Beckmann 1-2). Rebounds — Cedar Falls 33 (Campbell 8), Xavier 23 (Beckmann 5). Total fouls — Cedar Falls 14, Xavier 19. Fouled out — Schulte. Turnovers – Cedar Falls 11, Xavier 11.
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