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The starting lineup would not have been one projected by most for the Mid-Prairie girls’ basketball team, but do to some illness for Addie Rath, their normal starting five was not trotted out for their season and home opener against New London Nov. 28.
In a promising result, the Golden Hawks were victorious, 58-52, against a Tipton team that returned the vast majority of their starters from the previous season. For a team that struggled in the early goings last season, head coach Stephen Bender said it’s a game the team could have won by double that margin if they hadn’t made some turnovers late, which helped cut the lead in half.
“It’s a huge step up from last year,” Bender said.
“We have more depth if we get into foul trouble, also if we need to give people breathers and get them out of the game.”
A big reason they were able to make up for that loss in production was an increased amount of success from 3-point range. In the 2016-2017 season, the team made a total of 65 three-pointers, relying heavily on specialists Delaney Smith and Caitlyn Riggan for those numbers. Mid-Prairie hit five in the first half alone, and eight in the game from six different players.
“It’s really helpful. We have a lot more depth this year, and so that’s going to make it harder for teams to guard us outside because we have a big threat on the inside too,” Smith said about having other 3-point threats.
Don’t expect such an occurrence to be a rarity this year as Bender said the team will be much more of a weapon from deep this year.
Aside from the success from three, the other standout was Phelan Hostetler, who led the team in points with 11 and collected eight boards in her first varsity action. Her six blocks on the night tied her for the most by any player during a packed Tuesday night slate.
“She had a great performance. I mean she was outstanding,” Bender said, noting the only real flaw in her night was an own basket scored for Tipton.
“She made up for it with the rest of her play.”
Missing a couple key players, the team, which continuously extended their lead before Tipton found their way back, was finally able to break away for good during the fourth quarter in a game that was increasingly chippy.
Bender liked the way his team handled the pressure and Smith said being able to lock down a win in a physical game boded well for the season to come.
“I think it’ll be a huge help,” Smith said.
Bender said everyone who saw time contributed and all of them did end up on the score sheet.
Off the high of the victory without some of the key contributors had Smith feeling good about what the year had to offer.
“It makes us feel really good. I think we’ve got a really good chance of beating every one in our conference and I’m really excited for the season,” she said.
Tipton: 10; 14; 11; 17; 52
Mid-Prairie: 10; 17; 13; 18; 58
Phelan Hostetler 11
Shae Becker 10
Phelan Hostetler 8
Shae Becker 6
Shae Becker 4
Phelan Hostetler 6
Mid-Prairie move to 2-0
Mid-Prairie moved to 2-0 in front of their home crowd to kick off the month of December with a 57-53 overtime win against Northeast, Goose Lake.
Entering the fourth quarter against Northeast, Mid-Prairie still held the 11-point lead they had held since the end of the first quarter. Northeast stormed back with a 16-5 fourth quarter to force overtime.
Addie Rath helped Mid-Prairie lock up the win with all of her seven points coming in overtime, going 1-1 from the field and 5-6 from the line.
Mid-Prairie faced an early season test against Class 2A No. 2 Regina on the road Dec. 5 before home doubleheaders against Wilton and Durant on Friday and Saturday.
Northeast, Goose Lake: 6; 15; 10; 16; 6; 53
Mid-Prairie: 17; 15; 10; 5; 10 ; 57
Anna Vilovchik 16
Shae Becker 15
Shae Becker 6
Phelan Hostetler 6
Delaney Smith 5
Kessa Jones 6