In a River Valley Conference Double header with large division implications it was Iowa City Regina who went to Wellman and posted a pair of conference wins Tuesday. In the girls contest a share of first place was on the line and the Regals ran to a 57-38 win. Mid-Prairie led early at 5-2 but Regina ended the first quarter on an 14-0 run. The Regina game plan involved fast breaking to avoid facing the stiff Mid-Prairie defense in the half court and the Regals worked it to a tee. The run continued all the way to halftime with Regina leading 32-12 at the break.
To begin the second half Mid-Prairie inserted a jump shooting lineup to put more pressure on the Regina man to man defense, the strategy worked and the Hawks went on an 8-1 run in the first two minutes of the third quarter. Mid-Prairie would get as close as 11, before the Regals took control and hit free throws down the stretch to finish the 19 point win. After the game Head Coach Stephen Bender talked about his teams second half strategy.
“At halftime we really talked about that was not Mid-Prairie basketball that first half, and I was really disappointed with our effort and the girls knew that. I said, ‘Let’s really come out win or lose and lets make sure we put all of our effort out there. Lets not play intimidated, I felt like we played intimidated that first half [and] be much more aggressive,’ our goal was to get it under 10 going into the fourth quarter,” Bender said.
Mid-Prairie was led by 17 points from Taylor Kurtz, Alex Rath added 10 for the Golden Hawks who fall to 4-5 overall and 4-3 in the River Valley Conference.
In the boys match up Iowa City Regina entered play undefeated and ranked #10 on the season. The Regals used a big second half push to stay that way taking a 63-50 win over the Golden Hawks. Early both teams traded baskets. The Golden Hawks dropped into a zone to guard against the size of Regina underneath, and Regal guard Nathan Stenger made the Hawks pay from the outside with four threes on the night. Mid-Prairie took a brief one point lead in the final minutes of the second quarter but Regina answered with a basket and a tip in at the buzzer to lead 32-29 at the halftime break.
Out of the locker room Mid-Prairie went on a quick 4-0 burst to take a 33-32 lead. That would be their final lead of the game, using Stenger’s hot hand and a big night from role player Phil Arendt the Regals pulled away in the third quarter, leading by nine at the end of the frame. In the fourth quarter Mid-Prairie was unable to put together a run to threaten the Regals who put the game away at the line. Following the game Mid-Prairie Head Coach Chris Kern talked about Regina’s role players and his team needing to step up and make a play
“We let Stenger hit some threes on us that hurt a little bit, and between his full court drive and a couple of his threes, he was a big difference maker tonight,” Kern said. “We are not far from where we want to be, but I think as a team, as a whole we need to become tougher. That really hurts us at times, where that weakest link sometimes, and something goes wrong, and I thought that was kind of how that second half went. Who is going to be the guy who is going to put a basket in? It’s not that we are looking for a hero, but don’t think the other guy is going to do it all of the time, I have to be the guy and I have to be tough.”
For Regina, Arendt ended with 17 points, Stenger had 16 and all-stater Drew Cook posted 15 points. Mid-Prairie was led by 22 points from Dayton Hall, 15 of those came in the first half. Nathan Faselt had 13. With the loss Mid-Prairie is now 4-4 overall and 4-3 in conference. Mid-Prairie travels to Wilton for a doubleheader on Friday.