Prep Basketball

Hot-shooting Urbandale ends Cedar Rapids Prairie's season

Faith Putz is 7-of-7 from the floor, 4-of-4 from long distance in 64-59 win

CEDAR RAPIDS — In terms of outside shooting, this was a giant leap of Faith.

Junior Faith Putz made every shot she took Tuesday night, including four 3-pointers, to help 14th-ranked Urbandale outduel No. 9 Cedar Rapids Prairie, 64-59, in a Class 5A girls’ basketball regional final at Prairie High School.

“I was just ready to play,” Putz said. “We brought our energy. We brought out ‘A’ game.”

Urbandale (13-9) advances to the state tournament for the first time since 1994. The J-Hawks will face top-ranked Johnston on Monday at Wells Fargo Arena, Des Moines.

The outcome at Prairie, paired with West Des Moines Valley’s conquest of Cedar Rapids Washington, means that the 5A tournament will go on without Metro representation for the third consecutive year.

Prairie finished 18-4. In terms of win-loss record, it’s the best season in school history. But that wasn’t much consolation in a locker room of heartbreak afterward.

The Hawks were hopeful that home-court advantage in the postseason would propel them to state for the first time in 13 years. Instead, Urbandale made itself at home, shooting 59 percent from the floor. That included 8 of 13 from 3-point range.

“We knew they were talented,” Prairie’s Sidney McCrea said. “Their record didn’t show how well they play, and we knew it was going to be a battle.”

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Urbandale had a decided advantage inside with the Gyamfi sisters — 6-foot-1 junior Maya Gyamfi finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds (15 and eight in the first half) — but the J-Hawks were just as lethal from outside.

“They shot well, and we left some points on the floor with our free throws and layups,” Prairie Coach Josh Bentley said. “We tried as hard as we could, but things didn’t go our way.”

Urbandale pulled to a 31-20 lead midway through the second quarter, but Prairie got back in it at 35-30 at halftime, and the lead went back and forth 12 times in the second half before the J-Hawks prevailed in the final three minutes.

Putz, who entered the game with 10 3-pointers all season and a 31-percent success rate from deep, gave Urbandale the lead for good, 55-53 with 2:40 to go, with her fourth trey.

“This is amazing,” she said. “The best feeling, probably.”

The J-Hawks made 5 of 7 free throws in the final minute, then with Urbandale holding a late three-point lead, Putz broke the press with a layup to seal it.

Putz scored 18 points to lead all scorers.

McCrea and Mallory McDermott paced Prairie with 17 points apiece.

“Right now, it’s hard to focus on anything other than tonight’s game. But we’ll be proud of what we accomplished this season,” McCrea said. “This is such a close team. This loss doesn’t define our season.”

Urbandale is one of seven teams to represent the Central Iowa Metro League in the 5A state field. Iowa City High is the only outlier.

URBANDALE 64, CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE 59

5A Regional Final, at C.R. Prairie

URBANDALE (64): Mylea Cole 3-4 0-2 8, Dee Dee Pryor 2-6 7-8 12, Maya Gyamfi 7-12 3-3 17, Faith Putz 7-7 0-0 18, Jada Gyamfi 2-6 2-4 6, Kelsey Heller 1-2 0-0 3, Madi Lynch 0-0 0-0 0, Sierra Herzberg 0-0 0-0 0, Loraine Koua 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-37 12-15 64.

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C.R. PRAIRIE (59): Sarah Schmitt 2-10 5-6 9, Sidney McCrea 6-11 3-7 17, Mallory McDermott 4-10 7-10 17, Rachael Kilpatrick 2-7 1-2 5, Quinn Deahl 4-10 0-0 8, Makenna Moenk 0-1 2-2 2, Hailey Cooper 0-1 1-2 1, Jenna Leggat 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-51 19-29 59.

Halftime: Urbandale 35, Prairie 30. 3-point goals: Urbandale 8-13 (Cole 2-3, Pryor 1-2, M. Gyamfi 0-1, Putz 4-4, J. Gyamfi 0-2, Heller 1-1), Prairie 4-12 (Schmitt 0-2, McCrea 2-3, McDermott 2-5, Kilpatrick 0-1, Moenk 0-1). Team fouls: Urbandale 20, Prairie 14. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Urbandale 31 (M. Gyamfi 10), Prairie 25 (Kilpatrick 5). Assists: Urbandale 13 (Pryor 7), Prairie 9 (Schmitt, McDermott 2). Steals: Urbandale 5 (Pryor, J. Gyamfi 2), Prairie 13 (Schmitt 5). Turnovers: Urbandale 19, Prairie 6.

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

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