Washington Evening Journal
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Washington, IA 52353
Mt. Pleasant heats up in the 4th
Panthers make clutch shots late, get past Mid-Prairie in up-and-down tilt
WELLMAN — It wasn’t hard to see the similarities between the Mt. Pleasant and Mid-Prairie boys basketball teams when the two squads met up in Wellman on Monday night.
The Panthers and Golden Hawks took high-tempo to a new level, racing back and forth in a game that saw 15 different players score. In the end, it was Mt. Pleasant that was finding buckets when it counts, as the Panthers pulled away with a 66-59 win.
The game began at a frenetic pace, as neither team blinked in an up-and-down full court clash, but no matter how many shots went up, neither team could get any separation from the other.
Mt. Pleasant led by one point after each of the first two quarters, going up 16-15 after the first and 34-33 at halftime. The game stayed as close as it could be in the third, as the contest was knotted up 46-46 with eight minutes to go.
As the fourth quarter began, Mt. Pleasant standout Payton Hagans took over once again. Hagans hit three 3-pointers in the first two minutes of the fourth and the Panthers built on that to hold a rare three-possession lead midway through the period.
“They had a couple of successful offensive possessions and then we struggled for a couple of possessions on the offensive end, and couldn't match up,” said Mid-Prairie head coach Daren Lambert. “You have to give credit to them. They're a good basketball team, and they've won a lot of games.”
The Golden Hawks clawed back to cut it back to two possessions, and had the ball down five on a couple of different possessions in the final minute. The Mt. Pleasant defense stood tall, and a runout layup by Hagans in the final seconds put the icing on the cake.
“I'm extremely happy about our guys, sticking with it and taking care of the basketball for the most part,” said Mt. Pleasant head coach Eric Rawson. “ (Mid-Prairie) is a good program. They were a state qualifier last year, and they know how to win.”
By the end of it, six different Panthers had scored, five of which put up six points or more. Mid-Prairie had nine players in the score book.
“When we were doing the scouting report, we basically said 'it's us,’” said Lambert. “They do the same things that we do.”
Hagans scored 28 points in the win to lead the Panthers. Nate Stroud had 12. Owen Vansickel finished with 10. Carter Amos tallied seven. Aaiden Ashton scored six, and Drake Anderson chipped in with three.
The Golden Hawks were led again by senior duo Alex Bean and Camron Pickard. Bean scored 18 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for a double-double, and Pickard went for 12 points and three assists.
“We lost like 90 percent of the offense last year,” Lambert said. “They knew they were going to be the guys who had to step up.”
Mt. Pleasant moved to 12-3 with the win. The Panthers have now won seven games in a row. Mid-Prairie fell to 9-6.