Prep Basketball

Jackson Foley the hero as Cedar Rapids Kennedy beats Prairie, 53-52, in 4A substate thriller

CEDAR RAPIDS — He didn’t know about Marcus Haynes, and that wasn’t a surprise. His coach didn’t know about Marcus Haynes, either, and that was a little surprising.

Haynes was a former Harlem Globetrotters legend, famous for his exquisite ability to dribble the basketball and keep it away from opponents. Go ahead and Google him.

Jackson Foley is the modern-day, Metro prep version of Marcus Haynes.

“Thank you for saying that,” the Cedar Rapids Kennedy hero said Friday night, after his two free throws with 1.2 seconds left gave his team a 53-52 win over Cedar Rapids Prairie in a Class 4A substate semifinal heart-stopper at Prairie.

The diminutive senior guard dribbled out nearly the entire final 2:22 before a wild sequence ended up with him eventually being fouled between half court and the 3-point line. Foley made a free throw to tie it, was frozen by a Prairie timeout, but sank another for the winning points.

“It’s just like practice,” he said. “A little louder, but ... That’s what we wake up every morning in the summer to do. Work hard, shoot free throws, so you are ready for a game.”

Prairie’s Keegan Murray hit a 3-pointer to cap a wild comeback, putting his team ahead, 52-51, with just over two minutes left. The Hawks were down 13 late in the third quarter.

“It hurts a lot right now,” said Prairie guard Griff Clark, whose play sparked the rally. “We did that all season long, got down and fought all the way back and came up a little bit short. It looked like we were finally going to get a little bit over the top. It’s just disappointing.”

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Sensing his team had lost all momentum, Kennedy Coach Jon McKowen had Foley dribble around out front to let everyone catch their collective breath. Prairie decided against trying to force the ball away from him, so Foley kept dribbling.

And kept dribbling.

“Jackson did a great job of getting the ball and controlling the tempo a little bit,” McKowen said. “We were able to take 15 or 20 seconds, and I thought they got their air. They were struggling guarding Jackson with pressure, I looked at him three times, and he said he was fine, he didn’t need a timeout or anything like that, so I said we were going to play it there to the end.”

Eventually the clock got down under 10 seconds, then five. Foley tried to drive toward the basket at that point but got it knocked away by Prairie’s Bryce Trpkosh, the ball going out of bounds at the Kennedy bench with 3.3 seconds left.

After a timeout, Foley inbounded to a teammate, got the ball right back about 30 feet from the hoop, made a move and appeared to make contact with Prairie’s Logan Burg. The foul was called.

“I was trying to turn the corner, and he just happened to be there. I turned, and he bumped me,” said Foley, who had a game-high 18 points. “It just happened. It wasn’t like I was looking for contact, I was just trying to get a good look for a shot.”

A length-of-the-floor pass then went to Murray, who got a fairly decent turnaround look at a 3 that came up short. The Hawks end their season at 10-12, Kennedy (11-12) moves on to a Tuesday night substate final at the U.S. Cellular Center against second-ranked Iowa City West.

The Cougars have gotten to this point despite having two starters quit the team after their first game, and their best player (Derrick Diggins) being kicked off the team late in the season. Quite remarkable.

“With the adversity that we’ve had this year, in the first breath, you’re upset, you’re sad, your emotions take over,” McKowen said. “We talked to our kids about the second breath. The door just opened for somebody. That’s how you have to look at life. You’re run yourself into the ground if you worry about everything that goes wrong. It’s not the way you draw it up, but ... you’ve just got to deal with it. You’ve got to figure it out. These guys have done that.”

AT C.R. PRAIRIE

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C.R. KENNEDY (53): Jack Wetzel 3-7 2-2 9, Ethan Sailer 1-1 0-0 2, Caleb Schlaak 2-6 1-2 6, Trey Sheets 2-6 0-0 5, Jackson Foley 3-5 11-13 18, Ben Koester 0-0 0-0 0, Michael Gallagher 0-2 0-0 0, Grant Griffin 2-5 2-2 8, Thomas Vanek 1-1 1-1 3, Cole Werling 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 15-38 17-20 53.

C.R. PRAIRIE (52): Logan Burg 5-6 3-4 13, Harrison Cook 2-4 0-0 4, Kris Murray 2-8 0-0 4, Keegan Murray 5-7 1-2 12, Griff Clark 5-11 3-7 15, Mason Hook 1-3 0-0 2, Matt Walter 1-1 0-0 2, Levi Usher 0-0 0-0 0, Bryce Trpkosh 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-40 7-13 52.

Halftime — Kennedy 22, Prairie 19. 3-point goals — Kennedy 6-10 (Wetzel 1-1, Schlaak 1-1, Sheets 1-3, Foley 1-1, Griffin 2-4), Prairie 3-12 (Kr. Murray 0-3, Ke. Murray 1-2, Clark 2-6, Hook 0-1). Rebounds — Kennedy 20 (Sailer, Sheets 4), Prairie 17 (Burg, Hook 3). Total fouls — Kennedy 13, Prairie 19. Fouled out — None. Turnovers — Kennedy 12, Prairie 12.

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

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