CEDAR RAPIDS — No more role reversals.
Injuries have played havoc with the Iowa City High boys’ basketball lineup, though the Little Hawks got a key guy back last night and picked up a win thanks to it. Guard Nolan Amelon returned to hit four 3-pointers, and City High dominated the glass to escape Cedar Rapids Prairie, 56-48, at Prairie.
“We’ve been in such a transition,” said City High Coach Adam Loria. “It’s like everyone has learned different roles in such a short amount of time. Now we’re having to learn them all over again. That’s tough.”
Amelon missed six games because of a high ankle sprain. Sophomore Jerel Moore was ineligible the first part of the season, then tore his ACL upon returning.
That’s caused guys to have to play different positions in different games, and City High’s up-and-down season shows that. The Little Hawks (8-6) began 5-2, lost four of five, and now have won two straight.
“Yeah, the injuries have hurt us,” said center Carson Heath, who had a double-double of 12 points and 14 rebounds. “But that happens during a season, so you’ve got to play through it. When we went through that stretch of losing, it was kind of like we weren’t expecting to win because of all the injuries.”
City High led most of the way, but never comfortably. It had a 12-point fourth-quarter lead shaved to as little as three late.
Prairie (2-12) even had the basketball in a one-possession game with about 1:30 left but a forced shot from sophomore Matt MacDougall airballed, City High rebounded and that was about it for the noticeably improved Hawks.
City High had a decisive 33-17 rebounding edge, with Heath and forward Terrance Brown (15 points) continually getting putbacks. Amelon’s 14 points from the outside were a perfect complement.
“We told the kids that they were the second-leading rebounding team in the MVC, so we had to be more physical on the boards,” said Prairie Coach Paul Schenkelberg. “We did a little better in the second half, I thought.”
Forward Brandon Lafferty led Prairie with 16 points. MacDougall added 14, though only two in the second half.
“Our kids don’t give up, that’s for sure,” said Schenkelberg.