WELLMAN — It is rewarding when one’s extra time, effort and hard work reaps immediate payoff.
Shae Becker saw the results of her labor Tuesday when Mid-Prairie eked out a River Valley Conference win, 55-52, over Durant in a girls high school basketball game.
“We did not play our best, but it’s good to get the win,” Becker said.
It is the mark of a good team when it can get a victory without playing its ‘A’ game.
Becker went 5 of 16 on free throws in Saturday’s 43-41 win at Anamosa. She had only missed 16 free throws all season, then missed 11 in one game.
Tuesday, she was a perfect 6 of 6 from the line including two swishes with 5 seconds left to give the Golden Hawks a 3-point lead.
“After practice Monday, I stayed and shot 60-some free throws and I didn’t leave until I made five in a row,” she said. “When I was at the line tonight, I just thought about it being just me in the gym.”
Becker scored the first bucket of the game and had six points at halftime. Mid-Prairie led 16-12 after the first quarter, thanks to Myah Lugar’s three 3-pointers, but trailed 31-29 at intermission.
Lugar hit two more triples in the game, finishing 5 of 7 from downtown for her 15 points.
An adjustment in the locker room opened up the scoring for Becker.
“We switched offenses and I was coming open on the flash,” she said. “I was able to drive a couple times and hit some elbow jumpers. Then I have my free throws and that always helps.”
Becker finished with a game-high 22 points on 8 of 14 shooting. She also had eight rebounds, four steals and three blocks.
Kamryn Meyer had 17 for Durant, which lost to the Golden Hawks 69-49 in the first game of the season for both teams. Durant (2-11 overall, 2-10 in the RVC) lost its first nine games before defeating 14th-ranked (Class 3A) Monticello 81-77 in double overtime the Friday before Christmas. The Wildcats beat North Cedar by 21 Friday.
“They are much improved from when we played them, but it’s not often you can have 26 turnovers and still win,” MP coach Stephen Bender said.
Mid-Prairie had 15 turnovers in the first half and 11 in the second.
The score was tied at 43 starting the fourth quarter. The score was tied five more times in the period. The fourth time was at 51 when Becker scored on an assist from Caitlyn Riggan.
Kessa Jones made the first of two free throws to tie the game at 52 with 27 seconds remaining. The missed free throw was rebounded by Mid-Prairie.
“To get the rebound after that missed free throw really helped,” Bender said. “The girls made some plays when they had to, but it was not one of our better performances.”
Jones was a steady performer for the Golden Hawks. She finished with seven points, going 2 of 3 from the field and 3 of 5 at the line. If she wasn’t the shortest girl on the floor, she may have been the smallest, yet she led the team with 10 rebounds. She also had three assists and was a constant defensive presence.
“She’s got a heart that doesn’t hardly fit in her body, it is so big,” Bender said. “She just goes hard all the time. What she does may not show up in the scorebook, but she sure helps us be a better team. She brings so much to the team. She’s not vocal, but she leads by example.”
Mid-Prairie is 9-4 overall and 8-4 in the league. The Golden Hawks host West Liberty Friday.
“Every game in this conference is tough and you have to show up or you will get beat,” Bender said.