Boys Basketball

Down 26 at halftime, Cedar Rapids Prairie boys' basketball roars past Xavier, 54-51

Boys' basketball: Hawks (5-3, 2-3 MVC) outscore the Saints, 43-14, in second half

CEDAR RAPIDS — Whatever the words of motivation were at halftime, Jeremy Rickertsen might want to file them for future use.

Trailing by 26 points at intermission, the Cedar Rapids Prairie boys’ basketball coach delivered a simple message – win or lose, there needed to be more effort.

“We talked about we were getting out-toughed, out-hustled, out-played flat out in the first half,” Rickertsen said after the Hawks roared to a 54-51 victory over Class 3A No. 4 Cedar Rapids Xavier in a Mississippi Valley Conference game Friday night at Ron Thillen Gymnasium. “We’re a good enough team that we can flip that script in the second half.”

Xavier seniors Jackson Joens and Matt Mims staked the Saints to a 37-11 halftime lead with a pair of offensive outbursts. Joens led all scorers with 17 first-half points, while Mims added 13. They each made three 3-pointers.

In the second half, the Prairie defenders bottled the duo up to the tune of just eight points.

“Their effort is what won the game, especially on the defensive end,” Rickertsen said.

The second-half comeback began immediately. A 22-3 Prairie explosion in the third quarter got the Hawks within seven points at 40-33, then a 3-pointer by junior guard Keegan Murray gave Prairie its first lead since the opening minutes, 44-43, with 3:28 to go.

With the score tied at 49-49, a drive and basket by junior guard Logan Burg put Prairie on top for good, 51-49, with 28 seconds left.

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“It was a big energy boost for the team,” said Burg, who finished with six points, six rebounds and two assists. “After that, I feel like our defense stepped up even more and we knew we had a chance to win the game.”

Murray led Prairie (5-3, 2-3 MVC) with 17 points, while his brother Keegan added 13.

“It’s a big win for us,” Kris Murray said. “Going into the rest of the conference, it shows that we can beat anyone. We can beat the best teams in the conference. We can do anything we want. We were down 26. You can’t count us out of any game now.”

Joens and Mims each finished with 19 points for Xavier (4-3, 2-3).

AT C.R. XAVIER

C.R. PRAIRIE (54): Kris Murray 5 6-0 17, Griff Clark 1 4-0 7, Keegan Murray 4 4-0 13, Harrison Cook 2 4-0 8, Logan Burg 3 0-0 6, Mason Hook 1 0-0 3, Totals 16 18-0 54.

C.R. XAVIER (51): Matt Mims 7 2-0 19, Jackson Joens 8 0-0 19, Quinn Schulte 1 2-0 4, Jacob Hines 0 1-0, 1, Gabe Lux 1 1-0 4, Kyle Moeder 2 0-0 4, Totals 19 6-0 51.

C.R. Prairie 7 4 22 21—54

C.R. Xavier 12 25 3 11—51

Halftime — Xavier, 37-11. Three-point goals — Prairie 4 (Kr. Murray 1, Ke. Murray 1, Clark 1, Hook 1), Xavier 7 (Mims 3, Joens 3, Lux 1). Rebounds — Prairie 21 (Burg 6), Xavier 20 (Mims 5). Assists — Prairie 7 (Walter 2, Burg 2), Xavier 9 (Mims 4, Hines 4). Fouled out — None.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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