Prep Basketball

'Switch-flipper' Mallory McDermott leads Prairie girls' basketball past Xavier

66-42 win sets up a showdown for the Hawks with No. 1 City High on Friday

Cedar Rapids Prairie Hawks
Cedar Rapids Prairie Hawks

CEDAR RAPIDS — About six minutes into the game, the light came on. The tide turned. Pick your cliche.

“They’ve got some big switch-flippers, don’t they?” Cedar Rapids Xavier Coach Tom Lilly said.

After a quiet first period, Mallory McDermott erupted for 13 points in the second quarter and 13 more in the third, leading Class 5A third-ranked Cedar Rapids Prairie past 4A No. 6 Xavier, 66-42, in a Mississippi Valley Conference girls’ basketball game Tuesday night at Prairie High School.

“We just needed somebody to step up,” said McDermott, a senior who has signed with Western Illinois University. “It was just a matter of stepping up and staying confident.”

Prairie (16-1, 12-0 MVC) overcame early deficits of 11-0 and 14-2, and did it quickly. The Hawks outscored Xavier (12-6, 10-2) through the rest of the half by a 27-4 margin and led, 29-18, at intermission.

McDermott nailed three 3-pointers in the second quarter, three more in the third. She finished 11 of 20 from the field, 6 of 10 from long range.

“When she’s feeling it, the basket just seems to expand,” Prairie Coach Josh Bentley said.

Prairie put it out of reach with an 18-4 run to open the second half.

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Northern Illinois signee Sidney McCrea added 19 points, five rebounds, four assists and four steals. Natalie Bennett hit a pair of first-half treys that helped kick-start the Hawks.

Tuesday’s game was Xavier’s third without senior point guard Caitlynn Daniels, who suffered a season-ending knee injury and will undergo surgery Friday. Daniels hopes to be ready by the beginning of practice next season at Alabama-Birmingham. She is Xavier’s career leader in points, assists and steals.

“I think we’re still trying to figure out what we have to do individually to make up for the loss,” Lilly said.

Libby Arnold led Xavier with 11 points. Freshman Lexi Turner added nine.

Prairie will face 5A No. 1 Iowa City High on Friday in a game that is likely to decide the MVC Mississippi Division champion.

CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE 66, CEDAR RAPIDS XAVIER 42

At C.R. Xavier

C.R. XAVIER (42): Lexi Turner 4-4 0-0 9, Aree Beckmann 1-7 0-0 2, Aubrey Jones 0-3 2-2 2, Libby Arnold 2-12 3-4 11, Mary Kate Moeder 1-1 0-0 2, Maya Karl 0-3 0-0 0, Madi Steger 1-4 2-2 4, Grace Ries 0-0 2-2 2, Kyla Mason 1-1 0-0 2, Bella Barretto 0-0 0-0 0, Emma Arnold 0-0 0-0 0, Sophie Schmit 1-1 1-2 3, Ali Schuchmann 0-0 0-0 0, Kya Loffswold 0-0 0-0 0, Libby Malecek 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 14-41 10-12 42.

C.R. PRAIRIE (66): Sidney McCrea 5-8 6-7 19, Kamryn Grissel 1-1 0-0 2, Mallory McDermott 10-17 2-4 28, Jenna Leggat 2-3 1-2 5, Hailey Cooper 1-3 2-2 4, Natalie Bennett 2-6 0-0 6, Lauren Williams 1-3 0-0 2, Emma Keiper 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-41 11-15 66.

Halftime: Prairie 29, Xavier 18. 3-point goals: Xavier 4-11 (Turner 1-1, Beckmann 0-3, L. Arnold 2-5, Moeder 1-2), Prairie 11-20 (McCrea 3-6, McDermott 6-10, Bennett 2-4). Team fouls: Xavier 11, Prairie 10. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: Xavier 22 (Beckmann, Bastian, Steger 3), Prairie 26 (McCrea 6). Assists: Xavier 9 (three with 2), Prairie 12 (McCrea 4). Steals: Xavier 7 (Jones, L. Arnold 2), Prairie 9 (McCrea 4). Turnovers: Xavier 10, Prairie 8.

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

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