Prep Basketball

Cedar Rapids Prairie boys' basketball gets back on track with comfortable win over Jefferson

Hawks break 4-game losing streak with 72-41 victory

CEDAR RAPIDS — Jeremy Rickertsen always has a pencil on the top of his right ear. Always.

It’s there when he teaches during the day. It’s there when he coaches Cedar Rapids Prairie’s boys’ basketball team at night.

“My dad always did it when he was working around the house,” Rickertsen explained, after his Hawks beat up Cedar Rapids Jefferson, 72-41, Monday night in the latest hoops installment of the Kolache Bowl.

Like father, like son, obviously. And let’s just say son’s pencil has been worn down to the nub of late.

This one ended a four-game losing streak for the Hawks (7-4), who started the season with six straight wins and a top-10 ranking in Class 4A, only to drop consecutive games by double digits to Dubuque Senior, Cedar Falls, Dubuque Hempstead and Dubuque Wahlert, in that order. You could understand the first three, in particular, since Senior, CF and Hempstead are all ranked this week.

Rickertsen said the absence of glue guy Jonathan Mullins at point guard because of injury also played a factor. He’s back, and so was Prairie here.

“Obviously we started off hot,” said Prairie’s Garrett Pientok. “We’ve just been keeping going in practice. Our first six games or so, we all scored evenly and played more team ball. I think that’s what we did better tonight.”

Senior Pientok was one of four guys to score in double figures, making his first varsity start because leading scorer Max Lampe was out with an ankle injury and because Rickertsen sought to shake things up and reward hard work in practice. He finished with 10 points and a team-best nine rebounds.

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Sophomore center Gabe Burkle led the way with 14 points, as Prairie exploited a significant size advantage against Jefferson (3-6). Sophomore guard Elijah Ward had 13 points, with Caden Stoffer adding 12 off the bench.

“It was a rough path that we had,” Burkle said. “But we kind of had to just work through it, We didn’t know when it was all going to click together. This game we were definitely clicking.”

Prairie shot 63 percent from the field to Jefferson’s 20 percent. There’s your ballgame.

Tremendous senior shooting guard Ozzie Meiborg led the J-Hawks with 12 points, but that was six under his average, and he made just 3 of 15 shots.

“The energy was really good tonight,” Rickertsen said. “Obviously holding Meiborg in check was big. He’s a big piece of what makes Jefferson go. Our guys did a good job of cheating toward him and identifying where he was at. He didn’t get very many clean looks.”

Both teams get right back at it Tuesday, with Prairie hosting Western Dubuque and Jefferson hosting Wahlert.

“There’s a lot of things we’d like to flush right now,” first-year Jeff Coach Chris Fechner said, when asked if it was easier to forget this one considering there is another game immediately on tap. “But you know what, our kids are working hard.”

AT CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE

C.R. JEFFERSON (41): Raejzuan Shockley 1-6 0-0 2, Kenny Moore 0-2 0-0 0, Brayden Kindhart 0-2 0-0 0, Maison Read 3-10 0-0 8, Ozzie Meiborg 3-15 3-5 12, Ayrondus Hodges 0-5 6-6 6, Andreas Williams 1-4 0-3 2, Kaden Haller 2-8 0-0 6, Carson Blietz 2-6 0-0 5, Theo Habimana 0-0 0-0 0, Connor Harms 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 12-60 9-14 41.

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C.R. PRAIRIE (72): Jackson Nove 2-4 3-4 7, Garrett Pientok 3-6 4-6 10, Gabe Burkle 6-9 2-2 14, Collin Rickertsen 0-1 0-0 0, Elijah Ward 5-7 3-3 13, Caden Stoffer 4-5 3-4 12, Jake Walter 0-1 0-0 0, Jonathan Mullins 3-3 0-0 8, Caleb Miller 1-2 0-0 2, Hank Wagemester 0-0 0-0 0, Johnny Joens 0-2 0-0 0, Isaac Rubsam 2-2 0-0 4, Spencer McAfee 0-0 0-0 0, Zach Hilleman 1-1 0-0 2, Ryan Barnes 0-0 0-0 0, Caden Richards 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-43 15-19 72.

Halftime – Prairie 30, Jefferson 13. 3-point goals – Jefferson 8-35 (Shockley 0-1, Kindhart 0-1, Read 2-8, Meiborg 3-12, Hodges 0-2, Williams 0-1, Haller 2-6, Blietz 1-3, Harms 0-2), Prairie 3-6 (Pientok 0-1, Ward 0-2, Stoffer 1-1, Mullins 2-2). Rebounds – Jefferson 29 (Moore, Hodges 5), Prairie 43 (Pientok 9). Total fouls – Jefferson 17, Prairie 16. Fouled out – None. Turnovers – Jefferson 13, Prairie 16.

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

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