Golden Hawks clean the glass in win at Fairfield
FAIRFIELD — Mid-Prairie’s missed free throws actually worked in its favor in Monday’s non-conference matchup at Fairfield.
Although the fourth-ranked Golden Hawks went just 15 of 36 from the free-throw line, the visitors made up for it with an array of putbacks after missed attempts. Mid-Prairie pulled down 48 rebounds compared to 31 for the host Trojans, and 15 of Mid-Prairie’s rebounds came on the offensive glass en route to a 55-40 victory over Fairfield.
“We gave up a lot of box-outs,” Fairfield head coach Mick Flattery said. “That was the real glowing error, I thought, in the second half.”
Fairfield was able to stay with Mid-Prairie in the first half.
The Golden Hawks initially built a 9-4 lead, but Fairfield junior Marisa Repp hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the first quarter and pull the Trojans within two.
Mid-Prairie stayed ahead in the second quarter, though the Trojans kept the visitors in their sights throughout. The Golden Hawks jumped out to a 16-12 lead midway through the second period before Fairfield junior Erica Winslow connected on two free throws. The Trojans tied the game at 18-all on back-to-back makes from senior Brittany Kurtz and Repp, but Mid-Prairie closed the half with a 7-3 run.
In the second half, Fairfield senior Sidney Baumann cut the deficit to one on a 3-pointer, but the Trojans never got any closer. Four straight points by senior Jess Butters pushed Mid-Prairie’s lead to 29-24, and a few steals by senior Mallory McArtor midway through the quarter translated into easy buckets for the Golden Hawks, who led 41-29 after three.
McArtor, who scored a team-high 11 points, said her team made a point to come out strong in the second half.
“We always struggle with the second-half comebacks. We wanted to make sure we came out pretty strong in the second half and give them the first punch, and that’s what we did,” she said. “Our main key as a team is putting on a lot of pressure — full court and half court — and just making sure even on offense what the tempo is and not going by what the other team is doing.”
Mid-Prairie head coach Marc Pennington said that his team’s defensive pressure finally took its toll on Fairfield later in the game.
“With our pressure sometimes you don’t get turnovers in the first half, but when you continue applying the pressure at some point I think it just wears the other team out,” Pennington said. “We try to wear you out in the first half so we can take advantage in the second half, and that seemed to work OK tonight.”
The Golden Hawks displayed a balanced attack on offense, with four players hitting double figures in scoring. In addition to McArtor’s 11 points, Erika Murphy, Jessie Butters and Taylor Kurtz scored 10 apiece.
Taylor Kurtz also had a game-high 10 boards and McArtor nabbed four steals. Senior Mariah Swartzentruber scored six points, while senior Meghan Redlinger came through with four points, four assists and three steals.
Mid-Prairie improves to 9-3 on the season and will host Iowa City Regina today.
Brittany Kurtz scored a season-high 13 points on 6-for-10 shooting for the Trojans. Repp added 11 points and three steals, and senior Sidney Baumann made three 3-pointers and scored 11 points.
Fairfield’s tough slate continues Thursday with a makeup game against Keokuk and Friday with a trip to Class 4A ninth-ranked Washington. Burlington-Notre Dame (ranked second in Class 1A) and Iowa City Regina (ranked 15th in Class 2A) await the 5-7 Trojans next week.
“In the next five games, four of them are ranked,” Flattery said. “It’s a tough stretch for us but also teaches us something about what we need to work on and where we’re at. Without question, it gets you ready for tournaments, I think, instead of winning easy games.”