CLINTON — Kaidion Larson and Patrick Mulholland scored 22 points apiece to help Prince of Peace jump to an early lead and maintain control in a 74-49 victory over the Midland Eagles in boys basketball at Central Catholic Auditorium on Friday night.
“I was unhappy with the first quarter,” Prince of Peace Coach Gerry Murphy said. “I didn’t think we had intensity. We were slow-footed, terrible closeouts, wide-open shots, second-chance shots. Everything we have worked on, we didn’t do in the first quarter. The last few minutes of the second quarter we picked it up and got a lead and carried it over into the second half. Effort was a lot better from the second quarter on. You have to play four quarters.”
The first quarter saw a lot of back-and-forth play, and Midland pulled within three early in the second quarter, but scoring from multiple Irish athletes put them ahead by double digits.
“I think we definitely did take them for granted; it showed that we shouldn’t do that,” Kaidion Larson said. “There was a lot of miscommunication on defense. We were not talking and not knowing who we had, and those are silly mistakes we have to fix in practice and get better on every single day.”
Midland hit a 3 with under two minutes to go to pull within seven again, but Larson drove and dumped the ball to Mulholland, who got an easy basket. Then Larson took the ball from one end to the other himself for an easy layup on the next possession.
“I don’t think when I’m playing, I just try to play as hard as I can and make plays for my team when we need them,” Larson said. “We kind of needed them because we were low on offense and low on energy. I had to bring it out for the team and be a leader.”
Larson followed up with a steal, a basket and a foul. He put in the free throw to give the Irish the 43-29 advantage going into halftime.
Moeller hit one free throw to start the second-half offense for the Irish. The defensive effort silenced the Eagles in the third. They scored only four points on the Irish. Mulholland hit a 3-point field goal to end the quarter and go into the fourth up by 20.
“I really liked the third quarter,” Murphy said. “I just liked the effort: there was a lot of talking, a lot of helping. We were gambling on traps. and I liked the defensive rotation that didn’t let them get open looks.”
Murphy went to the bench for much of the fourth quarter, and even with the bench being in the remainder of the game, the Irish maintained the lead.
In addition to the combined 44 points from Larson and Mulholland, Payton Schnier and Nate Moeller each put up nine, and Michael Matthew put up seven.
“We need to keep spreading the scoring out more so I was happy to see that,” Murphy said. “The guys are capable of it.”
It was the second victory for the Irish over Midland this season and snapped a season-long four-game losing streak.