Men’s basketball headed to State

Junior Logan Wolf dunks on Waterloo East in a 62-50 playoff victory on Feb. 23 at home.

With adrenaline rushing through both teams bodies and electricity buzzing within the Mcleod Center, soon to be home for senior AJ Green as a UNI Panther, Cedar Falls took on Dubuque Hempstead Tuesday night for a chance to secure a spot in the state basketball tournament.

After close back and forth plays between both teams and a foul fest in the first half, the Tigers knew they had to crawl their way back into the game with a 32-28 deficit going into halftime.

“We just knew we weren’t gonna lose it this year,” senior Reese Gardner said.

Coming into the second half, both teams exchanged leads.

The Tigers eventually led going into the fourth quarter, with a close score of 42-38.

The nervous energies and fouls led to Hempstead mounting a comeback in the middle of the fourth quarter.

Before long, the crowd’s eyes were glued to the floor with 1:26 seconds left.

“Ya know, they beat us earlier this season at their place, and we knew we had to come back attacking all four quarters,” Green said.

In the end, it came down to free throws, and Dubuque Hempstead made the wrong choice in fouling junior Jackson Frericks multiple times. Sinking one after another, the points registered huge on the scoreboard and with the crowd.

For every free throw made, the chances of Dubuque making an upset out of the game became slimmer, and with 9 seconds left in the game, Green sealed the Mustangs’ fate and the chant of on to State began.

“Last time we were at State, it left a sour taste in my mouth after losing to Iowa City West,” Green said, “so hopefully we can go down there and get three big wins.”

The anticipation left the air as Tiger Nation cheered, fans clapped and the team roared, leaving it all on the court with a dub of 62-56.

“We’ve worked all year to get to this point, and being able to get to go to State is a great accomplishment, but we aren’t done. We want to go get a championship,” junior Logan Wolf said.

The team heads to Des Moines next week for the men’s basketball state tournament and more excitement, Tiger roars and free throws.

“This is the year,” Frericks said.

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