116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — It wasn’t exactly Hickory over South Bend Central, but it was impressive nonetheless.
Mid-Prairie’s boys’ basketball team traveled to Kansas City, Mo., just before Christmas to take part in a holiday tournament. The Golden Hawks knocked off Raytown South High School, 50-43, in an eyebrow-raising victory.
Mid-Prairie’s enrollment is a smidgen under 300, Raytown South’s a smidgen over 1,200. Chalk one up for Iowa, chalk one up for Iowa small schools.
“It was pretty exciting,” said Coach Daren Lambert, who coached at Raytown South before coming to Mid-Prairie. “We had a tough one against Northeast Goose Lake on Tuesday of that week, went to overtime. Then we got in the car the next morning and drove down there, played on Thursday.
“I think our guys were intimidated (at first). They knew, I told them stories. But they played extremely well. It was a great defensive effort. It was physical, probably the most physical game we’ll play ... It was a big-city type of basketball game.”
Mid-Prairie has had a big-time season. It goes into a Friday night game at Bellevue with a 16-0 record and No. 3 state ranking in Class 2A.
The Golden Hawks returned 90 percent of their scoring from a team that was 15-8 last season, so this is no real surprise. Yet anytime you haven’t lost a game as February approaches, that’s an accomplishment.
“It’s been quite a long time since Mid-Prairie has been in this position,” said Lambert, a Denison native in his sixth season at the school. “It has taken some building, but we have a great senior class. Like I keep saying in all interviews, they are very deserving of the success that they’ve had because they’ve gone and done the work to get to this point. It’s definitely success that has been earned by those guys.”
Carter Harmsen is M-P’s marquee guy, a chiseled 6-foot-5 senior who was third-team all-state last season. He averages 21 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, a versatile player whom Lambert says is the team’s best defensive player, someone capable of guarding a point guard or a center.
“He’s kind of our everything,” Lambert said.
Senior Ethan Kos is next in scoring at 10 points per game. He’s a 6-4 forward.
Will Cavanagh, Jackson Pennington and Alex Bean have started all 16 games as well. Justice Jones, Camron Pickard and Shawn Dodds are the key guys off the bench.
“We were kind of that up-and-coming team last year. Had one of those good years and knew we were bringing a lot of guys back,” Lambert said. “This is an expectation that they have set before themselves. They’ve had these goals. The group is just extremely focused.
“We have talked about that. Each win puts another target on our back. But our guys have said they want that target on their back. We want to be the ones that are on top.”
Around the hoop
- The Iowa High School Athletic Association is expected to release postseason assignments for Class 3A and 4A Friday. The IHSAA will reveal each district participant in 3A and each substate participant in 4A. Class 1A and 2A district assignments were released last Friday. Official pairings are determined after coaches determine seeds for each team.
- Iowa Valley’s 70-53 win Tuesday over Keota officially clinched the South Iowa Cedar League East Division championship. It’s the first conference title in boys’ basketball for the school since 1966. The Tigers are 12-3 overall, the losses coming by six to Montezuma and by one to Lynnville-Sully and 3A Vinton-Shellsburg. Iowa Valley is a 1A school.
- Montezuma’s Eddie Burgess is the top rebounder in the state, averaging 16.1 per game. North Linn’s Austin Hilmer ranks second in the state in steals (4.9 per game) and assists (8.1). Brothers Cade and Tate Haughenbury of North Linn rank second and fifth in the state, respectively, in field-goal percentage (74.1 and 71.8).
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