WELLMAN – He might go down as the most patient man in America. At least one of the most patient.
Chris Kern served as the main assistant boys’ basketball coach at Mid-Prairie for 26 years under hall of famer Don Showalter. When Showalter unexpectedly took the head coach’s job at Iowa City High last spring, Kern finally got his opportunity to be a head coach.
“I’ve been looking forward to it,” Kern said. “Obviously, I’m not going to lie, one seat over is a lot different. There’s no question about that. But I feel real good about it, I feel comfortable. I’ve known this community for so long, am a Mid-Prairie graduate, my two sons played here for Coach Showalter. So I feel real good about things.”
As he should. Mid-Prairie is 2-0 out of the gate, including a 57-49 upset of Class 2A No. 5 West Branch on Tuesday night.
The Golden Hawks always have good basketball teams, with last season being an anomaly. Showalter’s final M-P team won just five times.
By the way, City High also is off to a 2-0 start. This is a feel-good story all around.
“We were put into a situation last year where we had to play six sophomores,” Kern said. “Obviously when you do that, there are a lot of growing pains. Two of those kids we moved up didn’t go out this year. (The others) have matured, then we have three seniors all contributing greatly.”
Kern wouldn’t say who he thinks his best player is, but did mention junior Dayton Hall’s strong first two games. Hall spent last season on the M-P junior varsity but has stepped up big as the Golden Hawks’ starting point guard, including a team-high 16 points against West Branch.
Juniors Nathan Faselt had 13 points against West Branch off the bench. The starting five is Hall, Ryan Hoffman, Elliott Runciman, Reid iller and Spencer Shalla.
Mid-Prairie played Mediapolis last night and Iowa City Regina tonight.
“I think the biggest thing for us has been a nice chemistry,” Kern said. “And the kids are playing extremely hard and have bought into the system. I think they know that if they go out and play hard every night, good things are going to happen.
“We’ve got to play hard because we don’t have the talent to win without it.”
- Linn-Mar Coach Chris Robertson will sit out Friday night’s home game against Cedar Rapids Jefferson after being ejected for incurring two technical fouls in the Lions’ previous game last Saturday night against Bettendorf. That’s an Iowa High School Athletic Association rule.
- Several top players in the Metro and area are not playing right now for various reasons. They include Linn-Mar’s Jimmy Roth (suspension), Cedar Rapids Prairie’s Jace Hanna (ankle injury), Iowa City West’s Dondre Alexander (suspension) and Iowa Mennonite’s Chance Miller (suspension).
Roth and Hanna are both Upper Iowa signees. Alexander and Miller were all-staters last season.