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Mid-Prairie averages just north of 50 points per game of offense this season, but in Friday night’s contest against West Branch the two combined for just 55 overall points in a defensive struggle.
The Golden Hawks held a lead late in the third quarter, but scored only two fourth quarter points and lost to West Branch 33-22.
“I was super proud of our effort on defense. I thought they played so hard,” Mid-Prairie coach Stephen Bender said. “That team averages almost 60 points per game and we held them to 33.”
The Mid-Prairie defense held the Bears to 25 percent from the field and kept West Branch’s leading scorer Tatum Koenig locked down to only five points in the game despite Koenig averaging over 21 points per game.
The strong defensive effort wasn’t quite enough for the Golden Hawks due to their own offensive struggles. The Golden Hawks were 9-28 from the field and 1-6 from behind the 3-point arc. They also made just 3-9 free-throw shots.
“They play very aggressive defense, so if you don’t have somebody to go by and penetrate against it you’re not going to get a lot of openings,” Bender said.
He said the “in-your-face defense” the Bears play forced too many turnovers for Mid-Prairie and gave them easy points in the first half.
Mid-Prairie started the game struggling against the defense and allowed West Branch to get out to a 17-3 lead with 4:07 remaining in the second quarter. Then things started to turn the Golden Hawks’ way. Shae Becker, who played a big role in the offense with leading scorer Addie Rath out due to the flu, started to get in rhythm and had five first half points to lead Mid-Prairie.
Due to sickness, some young faces got additional playing time and made the most of it. Freshman Myah Lugar and Colby Rourke scored buckets for the Golden Hawks, and Rourke’s basket gave Mid-Prairie a 20-19 lead, their first lead since the score was 2-1 early in the first quarter.
In the fourth quarter the only Mid-Prairie points came from two 1-for-2 trips to the free-throw line from Anna Vilovchik.
Later in the game when it came time to intentionally foul West Branch had a possession where they grabbed three offensive rebounds in a row after missed free-throw attempts. West Branch grabbed 15 offensive rebounds on the night, a stat that doomed Mid-Prairie’s comeback attempt.
West Branch: 10; 7; 4; 12; 33
Mid-Prairie: 3; 9; 8; 2; 22
Shae Becker 7
Phelan Hostetler 4
Shae Becker 8
Phelan Hostetler 7
Kessa Jones 3
Bellevue blasts M-P
A strong game from Shae Becker wasn’t enough as the Golden Hawks were routed by Class 2A No. 9 Bellevue.
Becker had 18 points on an efficient 6-9 shooting from the floor and grabbed 10 rebounds. The Golden Hawks had just 20 total rebounds on the night, with Delaney Smith grabbing the second most with two.
Bellevue hopped out to a 44-19 lead at halftime, an insurmountable number for Mid-Prairie. Bellevue outscored Mid-Prairie in each of the four quarters on the way to the win. Bellevue’s Lindsey Banowetz had 22 points off the bench for the Comets.
Mid-Prairie: 5; 14; 8; 10; 37
Bellevue: 24; 20; 14; 16; 74
Shae Becker 18
Delaney Smith 6