Prep Basketball

No. 3 Prairie girls' basketball adjusts to new defense, rallies past Kennedy

Kamryn Grissel posts a career-high 17; Hawks roll to 15-0 with 67-52 win

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Prairie Hawks faced a new wrinkle Friday night. It took a while, but they ultimately smoothed it out.

Class 5A third-ranked Cedar Rapids Prairie shot 68 percent in the second half, placed four players in double figures and downed Cedar Rapids Kennedy, 67-52, in a Mississippi Valley Conference girls’ basketball game at Kennedy High School.

“They had two people on Mallory (McDermott), so the rest of us had to step up and take her place,” Prairie’s Jenna Leggat said.

Consider it done.

Kamryn Grissel recorded a career-high 17 points as the Hawks (15-0, 11-0 MVC) overcame a 28-27 halftime deficit.

They did it quickly and decisively, with a 22-7 blitz in the third quarter.

“At halftime, Coach (Josh Bentley) told us he had to step it up coaching, and that got us to step it up on the floor,” Grissel said.

Bentley had an impassioned speech during a second-quarter timeout. We’ll call it vocal encourgement.

“I wasn’t that mad,” Bentley said. “We saw something we hadn’t seen before, and the girls were playing too fast.”

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Kennedy (8-9, 5-6) double-teamed McDermott virtually throughout, and had another defender on Sidney McCrea. That allowed the others to basically play three-on-two on the offensive end, and the Hawks eventually figured it out.

“We focused on using Mallory as a decoy, and Sidney did a good job getting the ball to everybody else,” Bentley said.

McCrea posted 18 points, eight rebounds, six assists and five steals. McDermott still managed 12 points, Leggat added 10 and Hailey Cooper tallied eight.

Kennedy shot to a 15-5 lead behind Sadie Powell and Tori Knight, then Prairie worked its way back into it. Cooper’s baseline shot gave the Hawks their first lead, 27-26.

Powell and Knight combined for 20 points in the first half, just eight in the second.

“Our defense made our offense get going,” Leggat said. “And we figured out how to get open.”

The Hawks led 49-35 by the end of the third quarter and led by as many as 19 points on two occasions in the fourth.

Powell finished with 17 points for Kennedy, Knight 11. Camryn Ray contributed 10 points and nine rebounds.

Prairie’s perfection will face multiple challenges down the stretch, including tests against Waverly-Shell Rock (Saturday), Cedar Rapids Xavier (Tuesday) and Iowa City High (Friday).

CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE 67, CEDAR RAPIDS KENNEDY 52

At C.R. Kennedy

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C.R. PRAIRIE (67): Sidney McCrea 6-14 6-7 18, Kamryn Grissel 7-13 3-3 17, Mallory McDermott 3-8 4-6 12, Jenna Leggat 5-7 0-0 10, Hailey Cooper 4-6 0-0 8, Natalie Bennett 0-2 0-0 0, Lauren Williams 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 26-51 13-16 67.

C.R. KENNEDY (52): Camryn Ray 3-8 4-6 10, Sophia Barrett 1-6 3-4 5, Olivia Pecinovsky 4-6 0-0 9, Sadie Powell 6-18 3-4 17, Tori Knight 4-14 0-0 11, Ella Cadenhead 0-1 0-0 0, Carlee Smith 0-1 0-0 0, Olivia Herring 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-54 10-14 52.

Halftime: Kennedy 28, Prairie 27. 3-point goals: Prairie 2-13 (McCrea 0-4, Grissel 0-3, McDermott 2-5, Bennett 0-1), Kennedy 6-23 (Barrett 0-3, Pecinovsky 1-2, Powell 2-5, Knight 3-11, Cadenhead 0-1, Smith 0-1). Team fouls: Prairie 15, Kennedy 14. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Prairie 31 (McCrea 8), Kennedy 32 (Ray 9). Assists: Prairie 13 (McCrea 6), Kennedy 9 (Powell 3). Steals: Prairie 10 (McCrea 5), Kennedy 3 (three with 1). Turnovers: Prairie 7, Kennedy 12.

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

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