WELLMAN -- If a team stops or slows down its opponent from scoring, it will still be in the game.
Mid-Prairie could not stop Iowa City Regina from scoring in the second half of a high school boys basketball game Tuesday, dropping a 61-40 decision.
More specifically, the Golden Hawks couln’t stop Masen Miller from scoring in the River Valley Conference contest. He came into the game having scored 13 and 20 in each of the Regals’ first two games, both wins over RVC opponents.
Miller put up 26 points, 18 on 3-pointers. He also had nine rebounds and three assists.
“He is a good player,” Mid-Prairie head coach Daren Lambert said. “We needed to make defensive stops and we didn’t do it.”
The Golden Hawks flew out to an early lead of 6-2 and 10-6, but trailed 16-13 at the end of the first quarter. It was 20-15 when Brad Tornow hit a triple to get MP within 20-18.
“Brad has been a good facilitator and now he has become more comfortable with his shot,” Lambert said.
Bryce Barnett scored for the Regals but Dominick Pickard and Cale Robertson each scored to tie the game at 22 and the Regals called timeout.
Jack Baker downed two free throws for a 24-22 MP lead but the visitors scored the last five points of the half for a 27-24 advantage. Ethan Trimpe scored the first points of the third quarter on an assist from Tom Butters, but ythat was as close as the Golden Hawks would get.
Tornow’s field goal got MP to within 31-29, then the Regals scored 11 straight points in the middle of the period, and Robertson scored the last field goal of the third quarter to make the score 42-31 for ICR starting the final stanza.
“They were hitting shots, but our defense really struggled the last quarter and a half,” Lambert said. “We got away from what was working in the first two quarters. We were taking away gaps, closing out on shooters, getting our hands up and that didn’t happen as much in the second half.”
The Golden Hawks were able to limit second shots in the first half, but we’re not as successful at that in the second half.
“I don’t know if it was fatigue or lack of mental focus,” Lambert said.
The Golden Hawks were too quick with their offense in the second half.
“We did not let the game come to us,” Lambert said. “We were forcing things and getting careless with the basketball. Quick shots that are missed are a lot like turnovers. We have some great offensive players, but we have to allow the game to come to us.”
The Hawks had spurts where they did good things on the offensive end but couldn’t maintain it.
“When things fall apart, it’s usually when we are trying to force it,” Lambert said.
MP went on a 5-1 run after the final period started and employed a full-court press.
“In the timeouts, I would tell them that we need defensive stops and make them say it back to me,” Lambert said.
When players get behind, they tend to think they have to make it up on offense. The coach said it has to be on defense.
“It got to the point where we just had to go all in,” Lambert said of the Regals breaking the press. “When it gets to that point in the game, we got to go in with all of your chips and see what we can do. Give them credit they did a good job of handling it. We felt Regina was a good team in the half court and we weren’t getting enough pressure on them to get the ball out of their hands, so we had to try to find ways to get some deflections.”
The Regals are 3-0, all in the RVC.
Trimpe finished with eight points, Robertson nine and Tornow seven. Butters had eight rebounds and four points before fouling out.
Mid-Prairie is 1-2 overall and in the RVC.
RVC play continues for the Golden Hawks when North Cedar comes to Wellman Friday.