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Mid-Prairie had just a four point halftime lead over a struggling Bellevue squad in Wellman on Saturday afternoon. The Golden Hawks allowed just four field goals in the first quarter, but all four had come from three-point range, allowing the 1-11 Comets to hang around.
Mid-Prairie coach Daren Lambert knew that the opening minutes of the second half would be critical to the outcome.
“In that third quarter in the first two minutes are very crucial and throughout the season, we’ve been not handling it too well,” he said. “So the message was, we’ve got to come out and we’ve got to go, and we can really dictate how this game goes in that first two minutes. Once again we came out and turned the pressure on and the energy and took care of the basketball and stayed aggressive.”
Mid-Prairie had a 17-point lead by the end of the quarter and was well on its way to a 73-49 victory.
Caleb Statler had all six of his points during a 10-2 run, capped by a three-pointer from Ryan Slaubaugh, which gave Mid-Prairie a 41-30 lead.
Brad Tornow and Carter Reinier hit back to back three-pointers in the fourth quarter to extend the Golden Hawk run to 26-5.
Reinier made all three of his three-points attempts to lead Mid-Prairie with 15 points. The Golden Hawks’ success in the post early in the game led to open shots from outside in the second half, as Reinier explained.
“When we hit shots inside and we’re doing well, it’s easier for the rest of the team to hit shots and advance,” he said. “We just kept doing it and we won.”
Eleven players scored for the Golden Hawks, including Tom Butters, who had 10 points and nine rebounds. Slaubaugh and Dominic Pickard each had eight. Derek Rich and Carey Schaefer had six. Brad Tornow had six assists.
Tornow and Reinier each had four steals as Mid-Prairie forced 26 turnovers, while turning the ball over just 10 times on the other end.
The turnover margin, plus 18 offensive rebounds, allowed Mid-Prairie to put up 69 shots on Friday. The Golden Hawks made 29 of them, including nine from behind the three-point line.
Pickard’s putback in the first quarter gave Mid-Prairie eight points in a row and an early 8-3 lead, before Bellevue quickly came back with a pair of three-pointers. The Golden Hawks took a 28-19 with a 10-1 run that included four free throws from Schaefer, who was 6-6 for the night. Bellevue would close the gap to two points in the third quarter, but Mid-Prairie never trailed again.
Kyle Miller led Mid-Prairie with 10 points, but the Golden Hawks were unable to slow the West Branch offense on Friday night in a 77-41 loss
The Bears dominated every aspect of the game, shooting 29-52 from the floor and rebounding 11 of their own missed shots. West Branch sophomore Beau Cornwell continued to give the Golden Hawks problems, hitting five of his seven three-point attempts on the way to 28 points. He is 15-27 from behind the arc in four career games against Mid-Prairie.
Mid-Prairie missed all eight three-point attempts.
Brad Tornow had three of the Golden Hawks’ five assists. Miller, Caleb Statler and Josh Slaubaugh led Mid-Prairie on the boards with three apiece.
The Golden Hawks scored a season-high 68 points in regulation on Tuesday, but struggled defensively in a 74-68 loss to Tipton.
Mid-Prairie had four players in double figures, led by Derek Rich with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Caleb Statler had 16 points and three blocks, and Carter Reinier scored 13 points to go with eight assists and five rebounds. The three seniors combined to shoot 18 of 26 from the floor and 6-9 from the three-point line. Tom Butters had 10 points, nine rebounds, two steals and two blocks.
Mid-Prairie had a 19-15 lead after one quarter, but the Golden Hawks again struggled to contain six-foot four-inch junior Logan Hoffman as Tipton took a 39-34 lead into the break. Hoffman had 31 points in Tipton’s season-opening 71-69 overtime win over Mid-Prairie and he topped that performance on Tuesday with 37 points.
Mid-Prairie struggled with foul trouble as three players finished with four fouls and two more had three. Hoffman made Mid-Prairie pay again, repeating his 11 of 13 free throw shooting from the first meeting.
With foul trouble, Mid-Prairie coach Daren Lambert played 10 players, but the bench provided just eight points, three rebounds and two assists in the six-point loss.
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