WELLMAN — Tuesday was a special day in the Robertson household and Cale Robertson’s performance in the Mid-Prairie boys basketball 65-53 triumph over Durant made it even more special.
“It was my dad‘s birthday and he told me to go out and try to set the school record, so I thought, ‘hey, I will give it a go,’” Cale Robertson said about his father, Chris. “I never really thought about it before until dad mentioned it. I tried and tried and even though I didn’t get it, it was still a pretty good night.”
The school record is 42 and Robertson was on pace to get it after the first quarter when the Golden Hawks took a 16-11 lead.
Tom Butters scored a bucket in the opening period for Mid-Prairie. Those two points were the only Mid-Prairie points not scored by Robertson, who canned four 3-pointers and a 2-pointer.
With those 14 points, he was on pace to net 56 in the game.
“Our ball movement was really good,” Robertson said. “We were moving it well offensively.”
Mid-Prairie went up 21-11 when Butters scored again and Robertson converted a conventional three-point play.
He had 19 at halftime as the Golden Hawks led 29-23.
He added seven more points in the third quarter as Mid-Prairie stretched its lead to 46-29 before leading 50-40 to start the last stanza.
“Not to brag, but usually I am the game plan,” Robertson said. “We had really good ball movement and I was getting really good open looks. When they started to cheat my way, it left things open for the other guys like Grant (Boyse) and Tom.”
Boyse scored 10 points off the bench and Butters chipped in with nine points.
“We know he can go out and do those things,” Mid-Prairie coach Daren Lambert said. “Sometimes he has to trust himself and he did that from the start. He had success, so he kept pulling the trigger. I kept reminding him to shoot. When you are having a night like that and everything is going in, then your confidence only grows. The guys did a great job getting him the basketball.”
The Golden Hawks stretched the lead to 14 before Durant got it down to seven with under 2 minutes remaining. Free throws by Robertson ended the run. He finished with 26 points.
“I think some of it was they prepped for Tom because of the big game he had on Saturday,” Lambert said of Butters’ 26 points and 23 rebounds in a loss at Anamosa. “When you have teammates helping each other out, it’s great to see.”
Butters nearly matched his glass-clearing feat from Saturday, finishing with 19 caroms against Durant Tuesday.
“He was a monster on the boards,” Lambert said. “When he rebounds the basketball, it puts us in a great position to win. A team gets extra possessions from those rebounds and it stops the other team.”
Boyse was a force off the bench with speedy forays into the lane for acrobatic shots.
“Sometimes when the shot leaves Grant’s hands, I am like, ‘What is that going to do?’ but he makes some of the craziest shots,” Lambert said. “He’s a great help for us coming off the bench because the way he goes, he just has another gear.”
Mid-Prairie was 9 of 15 from behind the arc as Dominick Pickard buried four treys to go with Robertson’s five.
“We don’t take as many threes as a lot of teams, but I think tonight, we had great looks, so we took them,” Lambert said. “Great passes and great looks are a result of great team basketball.”
Mid-Prairie now has a 6-6 record, 5-6 RVC and hosts West Liberty Friday.
Durant is 4-7, 3-5.
Dad’s birthday wasn’t Robertson’s only motivation.
“It was a little bit of a revenge tale,” he said. “Last year, they were talking a lot of trash when they were beating us real good. I remembered that, so I used that for revenge.”