CEDAR RAPIDS — It’s a little early for March Madness. But the Cedar Rapids Prairie girls’ basketball team experienced plenty of February Frustration. And that’s even in a 43-29 win over Cedar Rapids Jefferson to send it to a Class 5A regional final.
“The ball wasn’t really going in tonight,” Prairie’s Sarah Schmitt said. “We had some struggles rebounding, especially on the defensive end. They got a lot of second chances.”
That showed early on for the Hawks. Some inconsistencies and missed defensive assignments allowed Jefferson to keep the game close.
Early in the first quarter, the J-Hawks could barely find room to get off a shot.
“They did a really good job of taking (Erica) Oler away from us,” Jefferson Coach Jason Edwards said. “Every time she touched the ball, there were 3-4 people right there.”
The second quarter was a different story. The J-Hawks broke through when Kaylee Donner landed a layup to give Jefferson an 11-10 lead just minutes into the quarter.
“We gave up some uncontested shots, which we don’t like to do,” Prairie Coach Josh Bently said.
Prairie finally found a hot hand late in the half. Schmitt scored the game’s next six points to put Prairie back on top, 16-11, with 3:20 to play until half. Jefferson junior Emily Kuba connected on a trey from the corner late in the half to cut the Prairie halftime lead to 19-15.
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“Overall, I feel like our girls came in confident and believed they had a chance,” Edwards said. “I really liked where we were at halftime.”
Prairie’s offense shook off the frustration of the first half. Sid McCrea connected on a pair of threes and the Hawks built a 29-18 lead in the third quarter.
“I think we got a lot of penetration and that got us some open looks,” said McCrea, who finished with 15 points. “I think as a team, we really picked up the energy in the second half. ”