CEDAR RAPIDS — For a third year in a row, the Metro won’t have an entrant in the Class 4A portion of the boys’ state basketball tournament.
It won’t even have one playing in a substate final.
Those Tuesday games will be uniquely Cedar Rapids and Marion-less after four teams lost substate semifinals Friday night, including Cedar Rapids Prairie, 55-45, to Davenport North.
The U.S. Cellular Center in downtown Cedar Rapids will host a Tuesday night 4A doubleheader that won’t feature any teams from Cedar Rapids or Iowa City. Oh, the ignominy.
To be completely forthright, Prairie was the only team seeded higher than its opponent Friday. North (15-8) was able to turn around an 18-point loss to the Hawks in the Wildcats’ regular-season opener (Prairie’s second game) way back in early December.
That shows just how much growth North has made under first-year head coach Marc Polite. His team’s first two games were losses to Metro schools Prairie and Cedar Rapids Kennedy.
Kennedy, by the way, was the last Metro school to make it to the state tournament, in 2017.
“I think it was just getting used to the system,” North guard Sam Wellman said. “We had the talent. It was just putting the pieces together as we go.”
Wellman helped shoot his team to victory, splashing four 3-pointers in a 16-point night. That included back-to-backers early in the third quarter that helped North build a 26-14 lead.
That, in turn, forced Prairie (14-8) to get out of its 3-2 zone defense and play man to man, which was advantageous for the quicker Wildcats.
“It was that, and us just not being consistent offensively,” said Prairie Coach Jeremy Rickertsen. “Not taking advantage of the things we wanted to try to take advantage of. We kind of got away from that. And they made some shots. That makes us change what we do defensively.”
North built as much as a 19-point lead in the third, with Prairie clawing back within six in the final two minutes. The sharp shooting of guard Johnny Joens off the bench (three 3s and a team-high 14 points) was pivotal in that run.
Quincy Wiseman led North with 20 points, including 10-for-10 shooting from the free-throw line. Jayden Houston added 15 points, 11 of which came in the first half.
Despite the disappointing loss, it was still a good season for Prairie, which lost Iowa-bound twins Kris and Keegan Murray, among others, to graduation off a substate final team in 2019. With sophomores Gabe Burkle, Jake Walter and Elijah Ward back in the fold next season, along with some other pieces, the Hawks should be just fine again in 2020-21.
“There were basketball people that I trust that thought we’d win four or five games this year,” Rickertsen said. “They had a great year, exceeded a lot of people’s expectations. They have nothing to hang their heads about. They were fun to be with in practice all year, their effort was good. It wasn’t always smart basketball, but the effort was good.”
AT CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE
DAVENPORT NORTH (55): Quincy Wiseman 4-12 10-10 20, Jayden Houston 7-13 0-3 15, Cade Guinn 0-0 0-0 0, Sam Wellman 4-8 4-5 16, Mahki Jacobs 0-4 2-2 2, Jesse Cooley 0-0 0-0 0, Alec Brown 1-1 0-0 2, Abdoul Diallo 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-38 16-20 55.
C.R. PRAIRIE (45): Max Lampe 1-4 2-2 4, Gabe Burkle 4-6 0-2 8, Garrett Pientok 0-1 0-0 0, Elijah Ward 1-5 0-0 2, Jonathan Mullins 2-6 4-4 8, Jackson Nove 1-1 0-0 2, Caden Stoffer 0-1 0-0 0, Jake Walter 1-5 0-0 2, Johnny Joens 4-8 3-3 14, Caleb Miller 2-2 1-3 5. Totals 16-39 10-14 45.
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Halftime — North 20, Prairie 14. 3-point goals — North 7-21 (Wiseman 2-7, Houston 1-3, Wellman 4-8, Jacobs 0-3), Prairie 3-10 (Pientok 0-1, Ward 0-2, Mullins 0-1, Joens 3-6). Rebounds — North 27 (Houston 8), Prairie 23 (Lampe 8). Total fouls — North 15, Prairie 19. Fouled out — None. Turnovers — North 7, Prairie 10.
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