MARION — Josh Bentley knows his Cedar Rapids Prairie girls’ basketball team is mentally tough.
After a pair of two-point losses to Marion and Iowa City West, the Hawks bounced back last Friday night with a 10-point win over Cedar Rapids Kennedy.
Bentley knew his team had to defend well in Tuesday night’s road test against a Linn-Mar team that loves to shoot the 3-point shot.
And defend they did.
Prairie kept the pressure on Lion shooters most of the night and took advantage of a 12-0 run to start the second half en route to a 52-36 Mississippi Valley Conference win at Linn-Mar High School.
“I thought our defensive energy tonight was solid with our main 1-through-8 rotation,” Bentley said. “The girls got into film study and really understood what they had to do and what we needed to do in our rotations. That was a big part of the game.”
Prairie (3-2, 1-1) consistently ran Lion shooters off the 3-point line, forcing them to either drive the ball or make passes under duress. The Lions converted 6-of-24 shots from behind the arc
We knew they were going to shoot a lot of 3s,” Bentley said. “I think they had something like 148 attempts coming in so we knew we had to either get a hand up or put them into a drive to force them into some help.”
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Linn-Mar (2-5, 1-2) played some solid defense of its own, but the Hawks were able to break the Lions down at times, hitting several shots in close.
Prairie led 25-12 at halftime, but broke the game open behind junior Mallory McDermott, who scored seven points in the Hawks’ 12-0 spurt to open the third quarter. McDermott led the Hawks with 14 points. Sarah Schmitt, a Nebraska-Omaha commit, added 12 while Sidney McCrea chipped in with 11.
Freshman Alexis Beier led the Lions with 10 points.