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Youthful Cedar Falls Knocks off Jefferson

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Roughly midway through the fourth quarter last night, a toddler who couldn't have been any older than 2 somehow wandered onto the floor from underneath the basket and waddled into the lane. This was while play was going on.

Thankfully, action was alertly halted, and mom ran out of the stands to quickly snatch up the smiling, carefree boy before he was accidentally run over. Players, coaches, referees and everyone else sans mom, of course got a big chuckle out of it.

"I didn't know who he was, but I wanted to get six men on the floor (called)," deadpanned Cedar Falls Coach Tom Bardal. "I knew he was a Jefferson kid, so I wanted a technical foul. I told the ref that."

The youngster was about old enough to be one of Bardal's players. Four sophomores and three juniors play extensively for Class 4A's seventh-ranked team, one that knocked off No. 9 Jeff last night, 60-54.

"(The kid) just came from behind us," CF guard James Harrington said, shaking his head. "Next thing you know, he's underneath the basket."

Harrington was all over the basket, scoring a game-high 24 points as CF (12-3, 10-2) took a two-game lead on Jefferson (12-4, 8-4) in the MVC's Valley Division. He took over a tight game in the fourth quarter by continually driving to the hole in a spread floor and hitting layups and short jumpers.

"Towards the end of the game, when it was close and we were up, we just wanted to run down the clock," said Harrington, a Division I college prospect in hoops, football and track and field. "I like having the ball in my hands, and I like shooting free throws at the end."

"He's a great kid, and he loves to compete," Bardal said. "He makes me look smarter."

This is two losses in a row for a Jeff team trying to figure out how to play without point guard Taylor Olson, who tore a muscle in his back in a game two weeks ago and is out indefinitely. Jarrod Uthoff got his points (20), as usual, but a box-and-one defense limited him to 10 shots from the field.

Guard Tyler Hemphill added 12 points for the J-Hawks, but all of their points came from starters and all but two came from four guys. That's a problem.

"We have a challenge learning how to play without Olson, especially against the (seventh)-ranked team in the state. But I really thought we took a big step forward tonight."

Caleb Konieczny added 13 points for Cedar Falls.

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