Prep Basketball

Cedar Rapids Prairie comes up short in regional final at Waukee

Young Hawks motivated for next season

Cedar Rapids Prairie girls’ basketball coach Josh Bentley. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Prairie girls’ basketball coach Josh Bentley. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

WAUKEE — Cedar Rapids Prairie had its best girls’ basketball season since 2006 at 16-7. Unfortunately for the Hawks, they fell one game short of the state tournament.

No. 11 Prairie lost to No. 6 Waukee (19-4) in a Class 5A regional final Tuesday night, 52-39.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Prairie Coach Josh Bentley said. “Our kids are great kids to be around. This one game isn’t going to define out season. It’s been a heck of a ride.”

The game was tied 17-17 at halftime, and midway through the third quarter, Prairie guard Sidney McCrea hit two 3-pointers to keep the Hawks in it. But her effort wasn’t enough. The Warriors pounded the paint, taking advantage of their size inside.

McCrea scored a game-high 14 points, but she recognized that it’s a team game, and even though she had an impressive game, the Hawks still fell short.

“I think this team is really united together, and I think the key is to be one team and it’s not about an individual,” McCrea said. “Everyone has good games and everyone has bad games and we just have to be there for each other.”

Even though the Hawks didn’t make the state tournament, the future is bright. Prairie only graduates two players — Morgan Erickson and Halle Person.

“The (seniors) helped get us back here,” Bentley said. “Then we have young kids that are going to continue to keep moving us forward. Sidney, Sarah (Schmitt) and Mallory (McDermott) and then you bring back Rachael (Kilpatrick) and Makenna (Moenk) — I can go on and on. We’re going to keep working.”

Bentley believes the loss will motivate them.

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“They aren’t going to let this define them and define their season and define what they’re going to be in the future,” he said. “Their goal is to get to Wells Fargo (Arena). I trust them and believe that they’re going to accomplish that.”

McCrea agrees.

“With the commitment level and the fact we’re a really united team, the sky is the limit for us,” McCrea said. “We have to work hard in the off season and continue to get better.

“Losses always give us motivation, no matter when they happen during the year. It’s hard to end your season on a loss. I think that’ll really push us to get better over the summer — going into the gym to shoot and work together as a team to be the best we can be next year.”

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