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In the first quarter of Mid-Prairie’s Friday bout with North Cedar they were in a good spot. Their defense was creating opportunities in transition and the offense was executing.
They couldn’t sustain that play though as turnovers and missed free throws haunted Mid-Prairie’s (2-8) 59-50 to North Cedar (3-6).
The Golden Hawks led 11-9 after eight minutes of action as Cary Schaefer closed out the quarter with a pair of free throws. The beginning of the second quarter was much of the same, as Mid-Prairie forwards Tom Butters and Chaz Patterson both had three-point play opportunities in the second quarter.
Mid-Prairie coach Daren Lambert said the Golden Hawks came into the night hoping to hold North Cedar to 10 points per quarter and in the first they did a solid job of that.
“I think the big thing was defensively we were keeping them out of the lane and when our defense is working you’re going to put yourself in a good situation,” Lambert said.
The last two minutes proved to be crucial though and North Cedar took a 21-21 tie and turned it into a 29-24 halftime lead. That included two quick scores off turnovers.
The second half started off on the right foot for Mid-Prairie as Schaefer got a put back off the glass 30 seconds and one minute later a Josh Slaubaugh basket cut the lead to three points.
After Patterson and Butters both went 1-2 from the free-throw stripe after being fouled on shots under the basket, the lead was just 31-30 for North Cedar three minutes into the third quarter. That was the closest Mid-Prairie got to overtaking the Knights.
Lambert said his team does a good job fighting back, but tends to take their foot off the gas when the game gets close again instead of accelerating through that to a lead.
“When we work extremely hard and cut those leads then we kind of dethrottle or go idle for a little bit because we’ve worked so hard,” Lambert said.
With 2:30 left in the third quarter Mid-Prairie turned the ball over twice in 10 seconds, allowing the North Cedar lead to grow to 41-34.
Heading into the fourth quarter the North Cedar lead remained at the five at halftime, despite the strong Mid-Prairie effort to start off the half.
In the fourth quarter the Golden Hawks got as close as six with 1:21 remaining, but North Cedar made enough of their free throws that a Golden Hawk comeback wasn’t in the cards.
The Golden Hawks had two in double-digits with Butters scoring 11 points and Cale Robertson adding 10. Butters had a double-double, totaling a team-high 11 rebounds on the night.
One area Mid-Prairie had a nice night in was getting second chance opportunities off offensive rebounds, Butters had four and Patterson three offensive rebounds.
The Mid-Prairie lineup was also sporting a new group of starters with Brad Tornow, Cale Robertson, Dominic Pickard, Butters and Patterson getting the starting nod. Junior Grant Boyse also saw increased playing time as he racked up six points and two assists on the night.
Mid-Prairie’s game against Mediapolis was postponed until Jan. 25. Mid-Prairie played at Tipton on Tuesday and hosts West Branch on Friday.
Mid-Prairie: 11; 13; 15; 11; 50
North Cedar: 9; 20; 15; 15; 59
Tom Butters 11
Cale Robertson 10
Tom Butters 11
Chaz Patterson 6
Cary Schaefer 5
Cary Schaefer 3
Brad Tornow 2