IOWA CITY - Through three quarters Friday night, Prairie and Iowa City High were in a basketball stalemate.
In the final period, Prairie guard Jacob Aune decided he’d seen enough of the back-and-forth and hit City High with a checkmate.
Aune provided crucial fourth-quarter buckets and free throws to help Prairie defeat Iowa City High, 54-47, at the Little Hawk gym.
Aune not only scored a game-high 15 points, but he was calm and collected for the visiting Prairie Hawks.
“Aune is our senior, he is our leader,” said Prairie Coach James Moses. “Those shots and free throws he hit were clutch down the line to help us win the game.
"He just verbally committed to Coe. He is going to be big for their program but he is also special to us right now.”
Aune scored, but he wasn’t the only Prairie Hawk who found the bottom of the net. Seven Prairie players had at least four points. Matt MacDougall had 10, Thomas Eilers and Demetrius Harper each had seven points and point guard Jace Hanna chipped in six.
Moses likes his team’s depth.
“It helps a lot. It makes teams have to adjust to us and respect what we have. That’s why as coaches, we want to have a balanced attack," he said. "When we can have a balanced attack like we did tonight, you can’t just key in on one person to try to stop.”
Prairie was leading, 40-38, near the end of the third quarter when City High’s Lonnie Chester drove the length of the court and put home a layup as time expired, tying the score at 40 and giving the home crowd a jolt of energy.
But Prairie and Aune owned the final quarter.
On Prairie’s first possession of the fourth period, Aune nailed a deep 3-pointer to push ahead 43-40. He then spoiled a City High possession by sticking his hand in front of a pass and converting a toughly contested fast-break layup.
Down 47-40, City High’s Jeremy Johnson kept it interesting by nailing a three. On the ensuing Prairie possession, City High’s Jerel Moore picked a Prairie pass and coasted for a breakaway dunk to bring City High within two, but Moore hung on the rim after the dunk and drew a technical foul.
MacDougall hit one of the two technical free throws and Eilers scored on a pretty dish from Hanna to make the score 50-45.
Prairie played keepaway on its next possession, taking 1:30 of precious time off the clock with their quick and capable guards. Aune then connected on four free throws in the last minute to seal the win for the Prairie Hawks.
“This shows that we're battle-tested and it shows that we are trying to earn respect,” said Moses.
“This says a lot about our kids, who came into a hostile environment and got this win, especially after coming off a loss against Waterloo East. But sometimes you need games like that to help redirect what our journey is and what our goals are.”
PRAIRIE (54): Jacob Aune 4 5-6 15, Jace Hanna 2 1-2 6, Matthew MacDougall 4 1-2 10, Thomas Eilers 2 2-2 7, DeMetrius Harper 3 1-2 7, Kentrel Smith 1 0-0 3, Brooks Kehoe 2 0-0 4, Bryce Meeker 0 0-0 0, Tyler Mougin 0 0-0 0 Mitchell Adams 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 10-14 54.
CITY HIGH (47) Jerel Moore 5 4-6 14, Ronald Thompson 5 0-2 10, Tony Perry 0 0-2 0, Alex Perry 0 1-2 1, Cortez Barfield 2 4-4 8, Jeremy Johnson 3 0-0 7, Lonnie Chester 1 0-0 2, Jasper Washington 1 0-0 2, Ryan Young 0 0-0 0, Andrew Hein 1 0-0 3. Totals 17 9-15 47.
Halftime - Prairie 28, City High 24. 3-point goals - Prairie 6 (Aune 2, Hanna 1, MacDougall 1, Eilers 1, Smith 1), City High 2 (Johnson 1, Hein 1). Technical foul - Moore.
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