The Mid-Prairie girls and boys basketball teams scored dominant River Valley Conference wins on Friday night in Tipton.
The Golden Hawks girls squad, winning for the second in three regular-season games, scored the game’s first 12 points and cruised to a 58-30 victory over the Tigers.
Myah Lugar, a senior, scored a game-high 24 points and had four 3-pointers. Maddie Nonnenmann had 14 points
The boys team also had a strong start, scoring the first 11 points of the game in a 54-25 victory.
Ready to Rumble
The Mid-Prairie Golden Hawks were determined in their River Valley Conference opener this past Friday.
They were determined to get the conference season started the right way.
And they were determined not to repeat losing a nine-point lead, as the Golden Hawks had in Tuesday’s season-opening loss at Williamsburg.
“This team knows when they mess up, they know what they need to do, they coach themselves pretty well, hold themselves accountable,” Mid-Prairie head coach Daren Lambert said.
So what happened in Tipton?
The Golden Hawks did not allow a basket in the first quarter. They scored the game’s first 11 points and rolled to a 54-25 victory over the Tigers.
Junior forward Carter Harmsen, who scored a career-high 36 points in a 74-70 loss to Williamsburg, led the Golden Hawks in Tipton with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Ethan Kos, another junior, also scored a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The game featured the regular-season debut of senior center Aiden Rath, who had rolled his ankle in a preseason scrimmage and was out for more than a week. Rath came off the bench and delivered 11 points, 3 rebounds and a steal. He was a big addition, considering his absence left the Golden Hawks with just six players at Williamsburg.
“It just gives you a mindset to be aggressive from the start,” Lambert said. “Our guys were pretty excited.”
Three minutes into the game, Mid-Prairie was ahead 8-0. Tipton didn’t score any points until Robert Ryan drilled a pair of free throws with 3:32 left in the opening quarter, cutting Mid-Prairie’s lead to 11-2.
The Golden Hawks pulled ahead 31-14 by halftime.
And as suffocating as the Golden Hawks defense was, Lambert thought to himself, OK, not bad, but …
“Honestly, I think our defense could have even been a little bit better,” he said. “A few things we need to clean up.”
The clean-up could come in time for this week’s River Valley games against Iowa City Regina and North Cedar. In its Friday home game against North Cedar, the Golden Hawks will face a team that scored just 23 points in its season opener against Monticello.
“These guys compete,” Lambert said. “Past teams, you always kind of worry that there’ll be a letup. These guys, they’re competitors and they want to win every possession. Every play, they want to be on top. They just have a different mentality. That’s pleasing to see.”
Junior guard Jack Pennington had a game-high seven assists at Tipton, and junior guard Will Cavanagh had four assists and four steals.
Ryan led Tipton with eight points.
Lugar takes advantage of space in win over Tigers
When Tipton’s defense sagged inside on Mid-Prairie senior center Phelan Hostetler, it opened the world for Golden Hawks senior guard Myah Lugar this past Friday.
Lugar hit four 3-point shots, and 6-of-9 shots overall, scoring a game-high 24 points as the Golden Hawks drilled Tipton, 58-30, for their second win in three games.
The Tigers held Hostetler to five points and four rebounds, but the rest of the Golden Hawks buzzed around the court outside of the paint to win their second consecutive River Valley Conference contest.
Junior forward Maddie Nonnenmann scored 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting. Junior forward Esther Hughes had seven points and four assists.
But the real story for Mid-Prairie on Friday night was its defense. The Golden Hawks scored the game’s first 12 points and shut out the Tigers for five minutes. Mid-Prairie built a 20-point lead in the second quarter. Lugar had a game-high six steals as Tipton struggled to break Mid-Prairie’s defensive traps.
“We wanted to come out and we wanted to try out a pressure defense and really get after it defensively,” Golden Hawks coach Danny Hershberger said. “I thought our girls did a great job of playing really good defense without fouling and causing them into some unforced errors there to start the game.”
Rachel Biermann led Tipton with eight points, but hit just 2-of-8 shots. The only Tipton 3-pointer came from Carly Langenburg. Mid-Prairie outrebounded the Tigers, 33-25, and held them to 20.9 percent shooting.
The victory came on the heels of a nonconference loss at Williamsburg after beginning the season with a win over Durant.
“We were not happy with how we played Tuesday night,” Hershberger said. “We made some mistakes that we needed to clean up. I thought we had two really, really good days of practice coming into tonight. The girls were ready to go, they were focused, they really did a good job of competing tonight.”