The Mid-Prairie boys basketball team is growing up before our very eyes early in the season. The same team that just a year ago took their lumps going 5-19 with a sophomore laden line up is showing maturity early this season getting off to a surprising 2-0 start. The latest win for Mid-Prairie a 56-49 upset of #4 West Branch on the road Tuesday night. In a game heard on KCII the Golden Hawks used the same formula that beat Washington to engineer the upset against the Bears, getting out to a good start early behind 11 first half points from reserve Nathan Faselt. West Branch countered with conference MVP and all state candidate Rylan Murry, who at the half had 22 of the Bear’s 27 points. West Branch took their only lead of the night at 13-12 with 90 seconds to play in the first quarter, from then on Mid-Prairie dictated the game. With a seven point lead at the half Mid-Prairie stretched the lead to nine early in the second half, their largest of the night and a mark that they would hit a half dozen times on the evening. While Murry continued to light it up from the field in the second, the Golden Hawks countered with a team offensive effort led by Junior guard Dayton Hall who ended up with a Mid-Prairie team high 17 points, 11 of those coming in the second stanza. Mid-Prairie also switched defenses to an active 2-3 zone that gave the Bears fits and resulted in deflections, turnovers and breakways. Down the stretch Mid-Prairie handled the intensifying West Branch press with poise and didn’t let the Bears get any closer than 48-43 following an NBA range three from Lucas Lamont. The Golden Hawks leaned on their defense and rebounding down the stretch to secure the win. Mid-Prairie showed that a full roster is better than just one player as the Golden Hawks got contributions up and down the score sheet led by 17 from Hall and 13 from Faselt, while West Branch got 35 of their 49 from Murry. Following the game an elated Head Coach Chris Kern talked about what made the difference for his team and allowed the to engineer the upset.
“From the minute of last year when it was over we talked about what we need to do to get better, and now you’re seeing a lot of the work from the summer the fall and a lot of that pay off with the maturity and just the growth of these kids,” Kern said. “We started out in a man, with Elliot Runciman face guarding Rylan Murry, and what we wanted to do was just face guard him and and stay with him, and then obviously we got into foul trouble so we went to the 2-3 zone, and that was the one thing we talked about, we knew we were going to have to go to it in the game, but we knew we had to play an aggressive 2-3. That was one of the most aggressive 2-3 zones that I’ve seen, they really got after it, collapsed in the middle get back out to the shooter. It was a team win tonight, everyone who got in tonight had huge minutes.”
With the win Mid-Prairie is now 2-0 on the season and will next be in action Thursday at Mediapolis, you can hear that game live on AM and FM KCII and KCIIradio.com with pregame at 7 and tip off at 7:30.