Prep boys basketball: Prescott returns as favorites in the MBC
When Prescott only lost four games last year it was safe to assume the Cardinals would remember which teams beat them.
For that reason, there are a couple of dates circled on the calendar for the Prescott boys basketball team.
After starting out 7-0, the Cardinals lost to Irondale, Minn., a school with more than 1,600 students. Two games later, the team lost to River Falls.
The team that they are most focused on, though, is Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau.
G-E-T beat the Cardinals in the regular season 74-62 and then again in the sectional final, 73-60.
“They were experienced and poised, which made them really good,” senior Luke Murphy said. “Their team defense is unbelievable. Their man-to-man defense was the best I’ve ever played against.”
Prescott travels to Galesville to take on G-E-T on Saturday, Jan. 21.
There’s another date that the Cardinals have pointed out as a game they’re excited about: Minneapolis Minnehaha Academy.
Playing against Jalen Suggs is the main reason the team is excited about the game. Suggs became a varsity starter when he was in seventh grade. In eighth grade, he averaged 17.3 points per game. Now he’s listed as a 6-foot-4 freshman point guard who is already recognized as the top recruit in the Class of 2020.
While they may marvel playing against Suggs, there’ll be another matchup worth noting: 7-foot Prescott center Owen Hamilton against 6-foot-8 power forward Javonni Bickman. Bickman, a junior, is being recruited by Memphis.
“They have a great team. It’s fun playing against those kids in AAU and stuff,” senior Pete Brookshaw said.
That game will be on Dec. 29 at the Hastings, Minn. High School Basketball Tournament.
The team won’t be overlooking anyone in between, because there will always be the team’s 31-game conference winning streak on the line.
“We’re very proud of that. We’re really looking to keep that going this year,” Murphy said.
Though proud of the streak, Brookshaw doesn’t want the team to get carried away by the streak.
“I feel like when they play Prescott they give it a little more. I’d say it’s just a number. We need to focus on every game and working as hard as we can every game,” Brookshaw said. “But yes, we’d like to keep it going.”
It is reasonable to expect the team to do so, too. Especially if Hamilton, committed to Northern Illinois, plays to his potential.
“Owen needs to become a dominant factor on both ends of the court,” head coach Nick Johnson said. “As one of the most talented players in the state he has the ability to take over games.”
A team can’t win 31-straight conference games without more than just a 7-footer. Hamilton acknowledges that, and so do the players around him.
“We play really well as a team when our offense flows and by the end of the year we will have a really good defensive team,” Brookshaw said. “We need to let our defense bring us into our offense so that easy buckets will come.”
When the team is going well, regardless of the opponent, it’s through Brookshaw.
“Our team runs through Petey as he is one of the most talented point guards in the state,” Johnson said. “These two players will be as good of a 1-2 combo Prescott has ever had.”