Prep Basketball

Sydney Mitvalsky triggers Cedar Rapids Washington's comeback against Prairie

Down 10 in the first half, 7th-ranked Warriors come on for 63-52 win

CEDAR RAPIDS — A couple of freebies provided the visual Sydney Mitvalsky needed.

And a spark that got Cedar Rapids Washington rolling.

Mitvalsky erupted for 15 third-quarter points, and Class 5A seventh-ranked Washington recovered from a slow start to bypass stubborn Cedar Rapids Prairie, 63-52, in a Mississippi Valley Conference girls’ basketball game Tuesday night at Prairie High School.

“It was a rough first half,” Mitvalsky said. “After those technicals, and watching those free throws go in ... I needed to step up tonight and lead these girls.”

Washington (12-1, 8-1 MVC) trailed throughout the first half, and the deficit reached 10 points on three occasions. But the Warriors raced back at the end of the half to get within striking range, then pounced behind Mitvalsky’s lead in the second half.

“I’m glad to step up and do my part,” said Mitvalsky, who led all scorers with 19 points. “Some people forget I’m a Division-I athlete.”

Mitvalsky, who is headed to St. Thomas (Minn.) next year, started her third-quarter run with a pair of free throws before action started, thanks to a technical foul on the Prairie staff, their second of the game, whistled as they were walking off the court at halftime.

Then it was a left-handed drive for Mitvalsky. Then a basket in transition. Then a putback off an offensive rebound. Then a 3-pointer. Then another putback. Then a 15-foot jumper.

And just like that, the Warriors led 42-36.

Prairie (6-7, 4-6) got within 45-43 by the end of the quarter, but the Warriors gradually edged away from there.

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“It was a crazy game,” Washington Coach Chris James said. “We had some tough shooting early. We rushed shots. Prairie’s a good young team that’s well-coached.

“Once Sydney saw those free throws go in, she got that confidence going.”

Washington’s Hannah Stuelke took just nine shots from the floor, but still managed 16 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and five steals. Jaliea Havel added 11 points.

Natalie Bennett paced Prairie with 16 points. Kamryn Grissel added 13, Catie Reittinger 12.

The Hawks scored the first six points, led 15-8 after a quarter, and pushed the advantage to 21-11, 24-14 and 26-16 before going scoreless the last 3:15 of the first half.

CEDAR RAPIDS WASHINGTON 63, CEDAR RAPIDS PRAIRIE 52

At C.R. Prairie

C.R. WASHINGTON (63): Sydney Mitvalsky 8-17 2-2 19, Aeri Thomas 1-6 0-0 2, Jaliea Havel 4-10 1-2 11, Hannah Stuelke 5-9 6-9 16, Deja Redmond 2-3 2-4 6, Lucci O’Donnell 1-3 0-0 2, Sydney Engledow 2-4 2-2 7, Keara Powers 0-1 0-0 0, Jocelyn Doyle 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-53 13-19 63.

C.R. PRAIRIE (52): Catie Reittinger 5-10 1-4 12, Kamryn Grissel 5-13 3-4 13, Hailey Cooper 3-6 0-0 6, Natalie Bennett 6-9 1-1 16, McKenna Murray 1-2 1-2 3, Ryann Decker 0-1 2-2 2, Ella Nove 0-1 0-0 0, Megan Mallicoat 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-43 8-13 52.

Halftime: Prairie 26, Washington 23. 3-point goals: Washington 4-16 (Mitvalsky 1-5, Thomas 0-4, Havel 2-3, Stuelke 0-2, Engledow 1-2), Prairie 4-14 (Reittinger 1-3, Grissel 0-3, Bennett 3-6, Decker 0-1, Nove 0-1). Team fouls: Washington 15, Prairie 15. Fouled out: None. Technical fouls: Prairie bench 2. Rebounds: Washington 28 (Stuelke 14), Prairie 29 (Reittinger 6). Assists: Washington 10 (Stuelke 5), Prairie 10 (Cooper 3). Steals: Washington 12 (Stuelke 5), Prairie 7 (Reittinger, Mallicoat 2). Turnovers: Washington, Prairie 16.

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

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