CLINTON—It was a big matchup for the Prince of Peace Irish boys team Friday night, and they knew it.
Both teams came in with only one loss: the Irish to Class 2A No. 1 North Linn and the River Hawks to Class 1A Calamus-Wheatland. They know that these regular season games will affect them when it comes time for postseason runs.
That’s something both teams are looking at with Associated Press state poll votes under their belt.
“We wanted home court,” senior Patrick Mulholland said. “We know if we can get these guys and then go out there and get Cal-Wheat we’d be coming back here in February and playing a home court game, which is huge.”
What happened was a 54-48 win for Prince of Peace
Leading by just three late in the fourth, Mulholland pulled up for a long, contested three-point shot. With nothing but net, the Joe O’Donnell Sports Center went crazy and the Prince of Peace never really looked back.
“I had all the confidence in the world to make it,” Mulholland said. “It felt good off the jump and swished right through the net, and there was pandemonium in my head. Then I thought about defense: that’s always first in my head is playing defense.”
The defense responded. Easton Valley never really did get on a roll after that. Kaidion Larson, Payton Schnier, Nathan Moeller, Michael Matthew and Mulholland all did their parts to keep the ball safe, make their open shots and drain their free throws.
“We made a couple of threes, we had a couple of steals and it got us really energized and sparked really good defense,” Moeller said.
It wasn’t always like that, though. The Irish led at the half, but barely. The River Hawks had the lead in the third.
That’s a big part thanks to Curtis Hartung. He led the River Hawks with 15, and pulled down board after board on the defensive and offensive side of things.
“He really chases the ball,” Moeller said. “We didn’t get the weak side rebound enough, we need to practice that. We’ve bene working on it, we need to work hard.”
With Caleb Cornilsen, their leading scorer and rebounder, out for Easton Valley, though, the Irish got their own offensive boards. Nathan Moeller and Michael Matthew led the charge on that one.
“We did pretty well, but we can get more,” Moeller said.
In the third, the Irish couldn’t seem to put in a layup. Despite offensive boards it seemed every ball bounced out of the rim for them.
That’s one of the most impressive parts of the game, according to Mulholland.
“When all the negatives hit like missing layups in the third quarter, we came back and got in it in the fourth and that really shows what this team is,” Mulholland said. “It shows we’ll go far if we do that every time.”
Mulholland ended with 14 points, eight of them coming in the fourth quarter. Kaidion Larson led the way with 17, Michael Matthew with 10 and Nathan Moeller with nine.
Easton Valley falls to 7-2 on the season and travels across the river for a matchup with Fulton on Friday night. Prince of Peace also heads on the road, traveling to Lisbon on Friday with their new 6-1 record.
Carlson, Messerich help River Hawks pull away
CLINTON—The River Hawks used a huge second half, led by post RaeAnn Carlson, to pull away from Prince of Peace on Tuesday night 60-37.
The Irish came in knowing that Sadie Zaruba was Easton Valley’s leading scorer. In fact, Zaruba had scored 30 the night before. They held her to just nine points, but lost track of other River Hawk atheltes in the process.
It doesn’t help that they weren’t playing at 100 percent.
“Late in the game, we had three people leave the floor sick during the game,” Prince of Peace head coach Dave Nelson said. “The kids fought hard.”
The difference really came in the third quarter, when the River Hawks double the Irish’s points. Carlson had right of her 22 game points in that quarter.
“We got Lilly Isenhour in foul trouble, and [Coach] Joe [Kilburg] wanted to take advantage of that,” Carlson said. “That was the game plan the whole time.”
Kierra Messerich and Carlson did their parts to aid the River Hawks: Messerich on the ball handling side and Carlson in the middle.
“Having Keirra and I both scoring repeatedly, it was super important,” Carlson said. “We haven’t been able to communicate the open people as well so far this year.”
That didn’t really happen until the second half, though. In fact, the River Hawks led by just five points at the half and that was only because of a late run in the second quarter.
“They made a move, they got the lead and never looked back,” Nelson said.
The Irish scored first but then watch Easton Valley go on a 12-0 run, led by Zaruba with five points. After that, the Irish went on their own 13-0 run to take the lead. That was capped off with a drive and layup from freshman Kaelyn Goodsman.
“We started off slow, got off to a bad start. No one lost their head and we chewed their way back in,” Nelson said.
The second half was when the turnovers increased for Prince of Peace and Easton Valley found Carlson in the middle.
“We’re playing half games,” Nelson said. “And half games aren’t going to get the job done against quality teams out there.”
Prince of Peace falls to 3-5 and travel to Lisbon on Friday, while Easton Valley improves to 6-4 and travels to Calamus-Wheatland the same night.