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me became a 20-point blowout win for Mid-Prairie over Durant in their River Valley Conference opener.
Mid-Prairie coach Stephen Bender didn’t mince words when it came to his team’s defensive performance in the first half.
“The first half offensively we were all right, but our defense was awful,” he said.
But then, a second half filled with Durant turnovers forced by the Mid-Prairie defense improved the offensive production as well. Led by 23 points from Myah Lugar, the Mid-Prairie offense caught fire in the third quarter and the Golden Hawks easily closed the game out.
“It is contagious and gets a lot of momentum going. It feels really good to work the ball and it is just a great feeling to come out playing so good in the second half,” Lugar said.
Mid-Prairie went on a 7-0 run at the start of the half and an easy drive down the lane by Shae Becker forced Durant to call a timeout and switch up their defensive scheme.
“We noticed in their man defense that the drive was right open,” Bender said.
He said a big halftime adjustment was stopping the side-to-side dribble and pushing forward toward the basket.
“We started attacking more and got some layups, that forced them to go zone and against the zone we were shooting the ball well,” Bender said.
The Golden Hawks hit eight 3-point field goals during the game and were 6-7 in the second half. Lugar had three and both Caitlyn Riggan and Maddie Nonnenmann had two each.
The Golden Hawks bench play helped them out of early foul trouble as well. Mid-Prairie went four deep off the bench including appearances from Colby Rourke, Ella Cadena, Lanie Bowlin and Jaselyn Robertson. Cadena finished with nine points and two rebounds off the bench while Rourke had four points and three rebounds.
“Credit to the girls who came in because we were able to have a lead at halftime even with those foul issues,” Bender said.
One area the Golden Hawks have shown immediate improvement is from the free-throw line.
The Golden Hawks were only around 50 percent from the line last season, but the first game saw Mid-Prairie go 17-21.
While happy with the victory, Bender said the team has a lot to improve on and will need to get better in the first quarter.
“It wasn’t bad for our first game, but we have a lot of room to improve. If we play teams that are better than this, if you come out like that you won’t win,” Bender said.
Durant had two scorers reach double figures. Kylie Kay led Durant with 16 points and Kamryn Meyer had 11.
Mid-Prairie traveled to West Liberty on Tuesday for their second game of the season and is on the road once again on Friday at Tipton. The Tipton game will be the first boys/girls doubleheader of the season.
Mid-Prairie: 13; 15; 22; 19; 69
Durant: 13; 14; 7; 15; 49
Myah Lugar 23 points
Maddie Nonnenmann 16
Ella Cadena 9
Kessa Jones 4
Caitlyn Riggan 4
Maddie Nonnenmann 4
Maddie Nonnenmann 2