CEDAR RAPIDS — No comeback for the ages again.
Cedar Rapids Xavier’s boys’ basketball team stayed calm, cool and collected, held on to its halftime lead this time and beat Cedar Rapids Prairie, 72-65, Friday night at the Hawks nest.
These teams played an instant classic back a month ago. Well, at least on the Prairie side.
Xavier had a 26-point lead at the break at home and coughed it up, Prairie stunningly winning by three. You wondered what would happen this time around, considering the Saints’ lead at the half was “only” eight.
That was plenty enough.
“This is a huge win for us,” said Xavier’s Jackson Joens. “We were embarrassed on our home floor, it wasn’t fun for us. We knew if we just played our game, stay composed, we’d be all right. Composure was a big thing for us because we didn’t keep it the first time.”
The Saints (12-5), ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, saw Prairie inch within three points midway through the fourth quarter, but no closer. Every time the Hawks made a push, Xavier had an answer.
One of those answers was guard Gabe Lux, who made all four of his 3-point attempts in a 12-point night. Quinn Schulte had 14 points as another answer.
Moving forward, those are encouraging signs for the two-time defending state champion Saints. You know Joens and exquisite senior point guard Matt Mims always will be there.
Joens had 18 points here, Mims a game-high 21.
“That was actually the turning point of the season for us,” said Mims. “That game, the way things played out ... We’ve been a lot better since that game, I think.”
Xavier has won eight of ten since that early January collapse.
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“I think this means we’ve matured quite a bit,” said Coach Ryan Luehrsmann. “That was actually probably the turning point for us, to date, because we had that game won. It was a tale of two halves. You give Prairie credit. They’ve got a bevy of shooters and penetrating guards. They put pressure on you. No doubt about it, we freaked out.”
Four guys scored in double figures for Prairie (8-9): Kris Murray with 19 points, Logan Burg 15, Griff Clark 14 and Keegan Murray 13. But the Hawks never seemed to get on that huge run they are known for.
“The key for us tonight was to try not to foul as much,” Luehrsmann said. “We felt if we did that, make them make tough twos over us, we’d be in better shape.”
“We just want to keep building momentum towards the postseason,” Mims said. “We wanted to come in here and steal one from them tonight, and we did. We played pretty well.”
AT CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE
C.R. XAVIER (72): Kyle Moeder 1-3 1-4 3, Jackson Joens 7-16 3-4 18, Quinn Schulte 4-7 6-7 14, Gabe Lux 4-4 0-0 12, Matt Mims 4-7 11-12 21, Jacob Hines 1-1 0-0 2, Jacob Beckmann 1-1 0-2 2, Matt Ropp 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-39 21-29 72.
C.R. PRAIRIE (65): Logan Burg 6-13 3-6 15, Harrison Cook 1-2 0-0 2, Kris Murray 6-12 4-5 19, Keegan Murray 3-8 5-5 13, Griff Clark 5-13 3-3 14, Matt Walter 0-1 0-0 0, Mason Hook 1-1 0-0 2, Levi Usher 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 22-52 15-19 65.
Halftime — Xavier 31, Prairie 23. 3-point goals — Xavier 7-16 (Moeder 0-1, Joens 1-5, Schulte 0-1, Lux 4-4, Mims 2-5), Prairie 6-22 (Burg 0-3, Kr. Murray 3-6, Ke. Murray 2-6, Clark 1-6, Walter 0-1). Rebounds — Xavier 25 (Joens 8), Prairie 29 (Kr. Murray 8). Total fouls — Xavier 18, Prairie 23. Fouled out — Lux, Cook. Turnovers — Xavier 10, Prairie 10.
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