Prep Basketball

Cedar Rapids Prairie beats Dubuque Hempstead to climb within step of state tournament

Hawks advance to substate finals with 51-44 win

CEDAR RAPIDS — The opener of the Revenge Tour was a smashing success Friday night. There’s at least one more date remaining.

Cedar Rapids Prairie’s boys’ basketball team got out quick early and beat Dubuque Hempstead, 51-44, in a Class 4A substate semifinal.

The fifth-ranked Hawks avenged one of their three regular-season losses and now get the opportunity to do the same with another. Second-ranked North Scott is the opponent in a 4A substate final Tuesday night at Iowa City Liberty.

Prairie and the Lancers met way back in late November, with North Scott (21-1) rallying in the fourth quarter for a five-point win.

“I think playing them earlier in the year will help a lot,” said Prairie’s Kris Murray. “We’ve gotten a lot better since that game. We are looking forward to that matchup. We know they are going to play us tough, one possession, might be a grind-it-out game, like this one. But we’re going to be ready for it.”

Hempstead beat Prairie in mid-January in the Key City, but this was not that game. Or even close to it.

The Hawks (18-3) scored the first seven points, built a 16-point lead in the third quarter and never were seriously threatened. Hempstead’s Max Duax blew up for 30 points in January but was limited to just eight here.

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“We played much better defense tonight,” said Prairie Coach Jeremy Rickertsen. “Michael and Max Duax are great players, and Max got going when we played them up there. We were able to keep him under control. We were locked in.”

Michael Duax, Max’s younger brother, is Hempstead’s leading scorer but had just six points. Hempstead (10-11) shot just 30 percent from the field and made only 5 of 12 free throws.

“That was a huge factor,” Max Duax said. “You’re going to have those nights. Shots aren’t falling, that’s going to happen.”

“Our on-ball defense had to be a lot better,” Kris Murray said. “We gave up a lot of dribble drives last game. Then how we started, too, was big.”

Keegan Murray led Prairie with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Kris Murray had 10 points and nine boards. Jamari Smith led Hempstead with 21 points off the bench.

The Hawks haven’t been to the state tournament since winning the Class 3A championship in 1998. They’ve got one big hurdle to clear to get back to Des Moines.

“North Scott is always well coached, they always play hard,” Rickertsen said. “I kind of compare them to Dubuque Senior in our league. They are just fundamentally sound, are not going to beat themselves most nights. So we have to come with our ‘A’ game and hope that’s enough.”

AT CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE

DUBUQUE HEMPSTEAD (44): Reed Snitker 1-1 0-0 2, Michael Duax 2-12 1-3 6, Michael Davis 1-3 -0 2, Max Duax 3-11 0-2 8, Joey Kaesbauer 2-6 0-0 5, Jamari Smith 7-15 4-7 21, Tanner Meier 0-2 0-0 0, Nick Kaesbauer 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 16-53 5-12 44.

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C.R. PRAIRIE (51): Harrison Cook 3-4 0-1 6, Gabe Burkle 2-3 0-0 4, Kris Murray 5-14 0-0 10, Keegan Murray 9-16 0-0 20, Logan Burg 1-4 1-2 3, Max Lampe 3-6 0-0 6, Garrett Pientok 1-2 0-0 2, Jonathan Mullins 0-1 0-0 0, Caleb Miller 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-61 1-3 51.

Halftime — Prairie 26, Hempstead 18. 3-point goals — Prairie 7-25 (Mi. Duax 1-2, Davis 0-1, Ma. Duax 2-7, J. Kaesbauer 1-4, Smith 3-8, Meier 0-1, N. Kaesbauer 0-2), Prairie 2-13 (Kr. Murray 0-3, Ke. Murray 2-6, Lampe 0-2, Mullins 0-1). Rebounds — Hempstead 29 (Smith 5), Prairie 42 (Kr. Murray, Ke. Murray 9). Total fouls — Hempstead 11, Prairie 11. Fouled out — None. Turnovers — Hempstead 8, Prairie 15.

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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