Prep Basketball

Cedar Rapids Prairie wins a breathtaking top-10 battle against Washington

No. 4 Hawks edge No. 10 Warriors, 49-46, for 11th straight victory

CEDAR RAPIDS — Josh Bentley emerged from the locker room, his black tie loosened, his brow sweaty.

“They told me I didn’t breathe the last three minutes,” he said.

Class 5A fourth-ranked Cedar Rapids Prairie claimed its 11th consecutive girls’ basketball victory Friday night, using a big third quarter and a just-as-key free-throw advantage to hold off No. 10 Washington, 49-46, in a Mississippi Valley Conference encounter at Prairie High School.

“We lost a couple of close games at the beginning of the season, and we’ve learned from that,” Prairie’s Mallory McDermott said. “Now we’re winning the close games. We’re a lot more confident at the end of games.”

Prairie (12-2 overall, 8-1 MVC) defeated the Warriors (12-2, 8-1) for the second time this season. In both games, Prairie monopolized the free-throw battle. Friday, it was 14 of 19 for the Hawks, 0 of 3 for the Warriors.

And there’s your story.

Washington led by as many as 10 points in the first half, but Prairie rallied to creep within 24-21 at halftime, then put on a third-quarter blitz.

The Hawks scored the first nine points of the second half. Sidney McCrea’s basket gave Prairie its first lead, 26-24, and it was 30-24 before Washington made its first third-quarter tally.

“We came out really flat in the second half,” Washington Coach Chris James said. “It was a lot like the first time we played them, but this time we battled back and showed more heart.

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McDermott said, “We really knew we needed to pick up the defense. I think our help-side defense on their post was good.”

Prairie took a 41-32 lead into the fourth quarter, then the Warriors made a push. They got within 41-39 and 43-41, but Prairie answered both times.

Hannah Stuelke’s bucket brought the Warriors within 47-46 with 25 seconds left, then Quinn Deahl’s free throw put the Hawks up by two with 0:18 to go.

Sydney Mitvalsky missed a corner 3, Deahl rebounded and hit one more free throw for the final margin.

McDermott led all scorers with 18 points, making all six of her foul shots. McCrea added 12 points.

Stuelke, an extremely promising freshman, paced Washington with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Mitvalsky, a sophomore, scored 12 points.

CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE 49, CEDAR RAPIDS WASHINGTON 46

At C.R. Prairie

C.R. WASHINGTON (46): Caitlin Riley 2-9 0-0 6, Isa Truemper 2-5 0-0 6, Sammy Mia 3-13 0-0 6, Hannah Stuelke 8-14 0-3 16, Sydney Mitvalsky 5-13 0-0 12, Sydney Engledow 0-0 0-0 0, Marek McBride 0-0 0-0 0, Samantha Squires 0-1 0-0 0, Aerionna Thomas 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-55 0-3 46.

C.R. PRAIRIE (49): Sarah Schmitt 1-4 3-4 5, Sidney McCrea 4-8 3-5 12, Mallory McDermott 6-14 6-6 18, Rachael Kilpatrick 1-3 0-0 2, Quinn Deahl 1-3 2-4 4, Hailey Cooper 3-4 0-0 6, Jenna Leggat 0-1 0-0 0, Makenna Moenk 1-5 0-0 2. Totals 17-42 14-19 49.

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Halftime: Washington 24, Prairie 21. 3-point goals: Washington 6-19 (Riley 2-5, Truemper 2-5, Stuelke 0-2, Mitvalsky 2-6, Squires 0-1), Prairie 1-8 (Schmitt 0-1, McCrea 1-3, McDermott 0-2, Moenk 0-2). Team fouls: Washington 15, Prairie 10. Fouled out: Stuelke. Rebounds: Washington 30 (Stuelke 12), Prairie 33 (McDermott, Kilpatrick, Deahl 6). Assists: Washington 5 (Stuelke 2), Prairie 8 (Schmitt 4). Steals: Washington 5 (Stuelke 2), Prairie 8 (McCrea, McDermott 2). Turnovers: Washington 10, Prairie 10.

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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