Prep Basketball

Cedar Rapids Jefferson girls' basketball holds off Liberty in a battle of youth

J-Hawks score the first 10, lead the whole way, then hang on at the end for 56-52 win

Jariah Harris, Cedar Rapids Jefferson
Jariah Harris, Cedar Rapids Jefferson

CEDAR RAPIDS — It was part chant, part plea, coming from Jason Edwards in the closing moments.

“Poise. Poise. Poise.”

In the end, the Jefferson J-Hawks had enough to hold on.

Cedar Rapids Jefferson held off Iowa City Liberty, 56-52, in a battle of two of the youngest Mississippi Valley Conference girls’ basketball squads Tuesday night at Jefferson High School.

“They’re young kids, but they’re hoopers,” Edwards said of his team. “They love the game, and they’re hungry. But still, they’re learning to play together.”

Jefferson (1-2 overall, 1-1 MVC) scored the first 10 points of the game and led the whole way. The largest lead was 37-23 midway through the third quarter.

“We definitely wanted to come back after a loss (Friday against Cedar Rapids Washington),” said Jefferson sophomore Jariah Harris, who led all scorers with 18 points. “We were going to play our hearts out. For a lot of us, this is our first year playing together, and we’re still learning about each other.”

Still trailing by 12 points early in the fourth quarter, Liberty (0-2, 0-1) chipped away. Avery Gaudet’s 3-pointer with 23 seconds left made it a one-possession game, 54-51.

But Aubrey Luvan converted both ends of a one-and-one with 0:19 remaining, and that sealed it.

“We came out slow,” Liberty Coach Jaime Brandt said. “When you get down 10-0, you’ve got to battle back. We’re a team with a lot of freshmen and sophomores, so we’re learning as we’re going. I’m proud of the effort, and we’re only going to get better.”

The Lightning made just 4 of 22 shots in the first half.

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Taylor Robinson came off the bench to add 14 points for the J-Hawks. Emma Slings added eight points, nine rebounds and six assists.

Harris tacked on eight boards to help Jefferson to a 43-30 rebounding advantage.

“My dad says rebounding wins games, so that’s one thing I focus on,” Harris said.

Freshman Brynlee Slockett led Liberty with 12 points.

CEDAR RAPIDS JEFFERSON 56, IOWA CITY LIBERTY 52

At C.R. Jefferson

IOWA CITY LIBERTY (52): Avery Gaudet 2-5 0-0 5, Kennedy Daugherty 3-4 3-5 9, Ava Meyer 1-6 0-0 3, Haley Napoli 0-2 0-0 0, Keiko Ono-Fullard 3-12 0-0 8, Haley Schroeder 1-3 5-6 7, Sunny Yarnell 1-6 6-10 8, Brynlee Slockett 4-9 1-2 12, Hayley Johnston 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-47 15-23 52.

C.R. JEFFERSON (56): Aubrey Luvan 2-8 2-2 7, Hannah Hoeger 0-5 0-0 0, Kalyn Wise 2-4 0-0 4, Emma Slings 2-14 4-5 8, Jariah Harris 7-13 3-6 18, Taylor Robinson 4-6 6-8 14, Zaria Larsen 1-2 0-0 3, Jada Platt 1-3 0-0 2, Madie Denlinger 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-55 15-21 56.

Halftime: Jefferson 30, Liberty 19. 3-point goals: Liberty 7-24 (Gaudet 1-2, Daugherty 0-1, Meyer 1-3, Napoli 0-1, Ono-Fullard 2-8, Schroeder 0-1, Yarnell 0-1, Slockett 3-7), Jefferson 3-13 (Luvan 1-5, Hoeger 0-3, Slings 0-1, Harris 1-2, Larsen 1-2). Team fouls: Liberty 14, Jefferson 15. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Liberty 30 (Schroeder 7), Jefferson 43 (Slings 9). Assists: Liberty 7 (Schroeder 3), Jefferson 7 (Slings 6). Steals: Liberty 2 (Schroeder, Slockett), Jefferson 5 (Robinson 2). Turnovers: Liberty 9, Jefferson 10.

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

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