CEDAR RAPIDS — Sometimes you execute your game plan and good things happen.
Then there are times when the execution is there, but the results are not.
That was the case in Tuesday night’s Class 4A Substate 3 final for Linn-Mar in the third quarter of its game against Cedar Falls. The Lions ran their sets and got some decent shots, but none resulted in points.
The Tigers led by one at halftime, then outscored Linn-Mar 15-0 in the third period and salted the game away from the foul line in the fourth quarter, earning a trip back to Des Moines to defend their 4A title with a 58-45 win at the U.S. Cellular Center.
Cedar Falls (18-3) avenged a loss to the Lions in the regular season. Coach Ryan Schultz’s Tigers used a balanced offense and third-quarter shutout to end the Lions’ season at 15-6.
“At some point you just have to tip your hat to them,” said Linn-Mar Coach Chris Robertson of the Cedar Falls effort. “They guarded us well and normally we’d make a shot or two, but we just didn’t.
“You have to give them credit,” continued Robertson. “We made the right plays a lot of times, made the extra pass but we had a hard time getting the shot off. They really defended well.”
Cedar Falls senior Logan Wolf, a Northern Iowa recruit, said the Tigers made some changes in their defense at halftime.
“We really stepped it up in the quarter and made some shots too,” he said. “I mean, zero points in the third quarter, that won us the game.”
Cedar Falls led 28-27 at halftime and it looked like the game could go down to a final shot. Wolf said the Tigers were disappointed in some of the errors they made in the first half.
“We came out and made fewer mistakes,” he said. “We made way too many mistakes in the first half. We corrected those in the third quarter and it made all the difference.”
To their credit, the Lions made a charge in the fourth quarter. A 3-point basket from Greg Hall cut the deficit to nine midway through the quarter. After a stop, Linn-Mar had a chance to cut the margin further, but a 3-point attempt from Jaren Nelson didn’t fall.
Cedar Falls made all its points in the final frame from the foul line, hitting 14 of 21 in the period as the Lions were forced to foul in an effort to get back in the game.
“I knew we would keep fighting,” Robertson said. “I couldn’t ask anymore from the kids than what they gave tonight. They never gave up. Cedar Falls is a well-coached team and they executed very well.”
Josh Ollendieck led a balanced Tigers attack with 16 points. Wolf added 14, Jack Campbell, an Iowa football recruit, finished with 13 and Jackson Frericks had 11.
Senior Trey Hutcheson closed his brilliant career with 16 points to lead Linn-Mar.
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LINN-MAR (45): Jaren Nelson 3 0-1 8, Greg Hall 1 2-2 5, Trey Hutcheson 5 4-4 16, John Steffen 4 0-0 9, Hayden Passmore 1 0-0 2, Cam Nelson 0 2-2 2, Will Zahradnik 0 0-0 0, Brady Klahn 0 0-0 0, Tyler Oberbroeckling 1 0-0 3, Eli Havlik 0 0-0 0, Alex Frantz 0 0-0 0, Trey Martin 0 0-0 0. Totals: 15 8-8 45.
CEDAR FALLS (58): Josh Ollendieck 4 3-4 15, Logan Wolf 4 4-8 14, Mason Abbas 1 2-2 5, Jackson Frericks 3 3-4 11, Jack Campbell 4 5-6 13, Jaxon Heth 0 0-0 0, Ben Sernett 0 0-0 0, Chase Courbat 0 0-0 0, Dylan Wells 0 0-0 0, Lovelle Banks 0 0-0 0, Cael Loecher 0 0-0 0, Tenchi Porter 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 17-24 58.
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Halftime - Cedar Falls 28, Linn-Mar 27. 3-point goals- Linn-Mar 7 (Hutcheson 2, J. Nelson 2, Steffen 1, Hall 1, Oberbroeckling1), Cedar Falls 9 (Ollendieck 4, Wolf 2, Abbas 1, Frericks 2). Team fouls- Linn-Mar 19, Cedar Falls 10. Fouled out: none. Technical fouls: none.