Prep Basketball

Iowa City Liberty makes a run, but Cedar Rapids Xavier has the answer

Big plays by Madi Steger, Lexi Beier send Saints to a 48-35 MVC girls' basketball victory

Madi Steger, Cedar Rapids Xavier
Madi Steger, Cedar Rapids Xavier

CEDAR RAPIDS — Madi Steger made the pivotal play. Lexi Beier followed with the big shot.

And the Xavier Saints gained a little more momentum.

After Iowa City Liberty whittled an 11-point halftime margin to four, Class 4A 14th-ranked Cedar Rapids Xavier responded with composure and maturity, and finished off a Mississippi Valley Conference girls’ basketball victory, 48-35, Friday night at Ron Thillen Gymnasium.

“We kept our composure and did what we needed to do,” said Steger, whose pivotal rebound and subsequent free throws restored order for the Saints (4-3, 2-2 MVC) midway through the fourth quarter. “I think we’re getting one step better every game. Every person brings energy.”

Xavier earned its fourth victory in the last five games. The Saints raised some eyebrows with an upset win over Iowa City West on Tuesday, then took care of business in this one.

“They made a run at us, and that’s OK,” Xavier Coach Tom Lilly said. “You have to know that teams are going to make runs at us.”

Down 23-12 at halftime, Liberty (0-4, 0-2) scored the first six points of the second half to get within five. The teams traded jabs, and the Lightning were right in it at 36-32 with five minutes to go.

But they missed a point-blank shot under the basket that could have cut it to two, Steger rebounded, was fouled, and converted both ends of the one-and-one.

Liberty missed another close shot shortly thereafter, then Beier delivered a 3-pointer to make it 41-32.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” Lightning Coach Jaime Brandt said. “We could have given up and gotten blown out. We played hard. We’ve just got to make shots.”

Both teams were chilly from the field — Xavier was 12 of 43, Liberty 13 of 44. The difference came from the free-throw line, where the Saints converted 20 of 25 tries, 11 of 14 in the fourth quarter.

Beier led all scorers with 14 points. Lexi Turner added 11 points, and Steger posted 10 points, nine rebounds and three steals.

“Madi keeps raising the bar,” Lilly said. “She made plays when we needed a play.”

Avery Gaudet and Keiko Ono-Fullard scored eight points apiece for Liberty.


At C.R. Xavier

IOWA CITY LIBERTY (35): Avery Gaudet 4-7 0-2 8, Kennedy Daugherty 2-6 0-0 4, Ava Meyer 3-9 0-0 7, Haley Napoli 1-4 0-0 3, Keiko Ono-Fullard 2-8 3-6 8, Haley Schroeder 1-8 2-2 5, Sunny Yarnell 0-0 0-0 0, Brynlee Slockett 0-2 0-0 0, Kinsley Robertson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 13-44 5-10 35.

C.R. XAVIER (48): Brielle Bastian 1-6 5-6 7, Maya Karl 0-0 0-2 0, Lexi Beier 4-9 2-4 14, Madi Steger 3-9 4-4 10, Lexi Turner 2-9 7-7 11, Emma Arnold 0-0 0-0 0, Aree Beckmann 1-6 0-0 2, Kyla Mason 1-2 2-2 4, Ava Turner 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 12-43 20-25 48.

Halftime: Xavier 23, Liberty 12. 3-point goals: Liberty 4-19 (Daugherty 0-1, Meyer 1-4, Napoli 1-3, Ono-Fullard 1-4, Schroeder 1-5, Slockett 0-2), Xavier 4-16 (Beier 4-7, Steger 0-1, L. Turner 0-2, Beckmann 0-3, Mason 0-1, A. Turner 0-2). Team fouls: Liberty 17, Xavier 11. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Liberty 38 (Meyer 8), Xavier 29 (Steger 9). Assists: Liberty 6 (Schroeder 2), Xavier 4 (L. Turner 3). Steals: Liberty 3 (four with 1), Xavier 8 (Karl, Steger 3). Turnovers: Liberty 13, Xavier 6.

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