Unlikely hero Bear lifts Benton past Mid-Prairie

Unlikely hero Bear lifts Benton past Mid-Prairie


Unlikely hero Bear lifts Benton past Mid-Prairie


The highlight of Reanna Bear’s basketball career will live in Mid-Prairie girls’ basketball coach Stephen Bender’s memory forever.

And Bear wasn’t even in Bender’s scouting report.

Bear had scored six points all season prior to Wednesday’s Class 3A, Region 5 semifinal. The junior matched that total in the final 80 seconds of overtime and hit the winning shot with 4 seconds left as Benton Community escaped with a 49-48 win over No. 14 Mid-Prairie.

“You never forget these types of losses,” Bender said. “I still remember my loss like this from high school, and I’ll remember this one forever.”

Mid-Prairie took a 48-47 lead on an Ali Butters free throw with 11.5 seconds left.

Benton raced down court and found Bear under the basket, and the junior’s shot rolled just over the front of the rim.

Bear hit all three of her attempts and scored the Bobcats’ final six points, lifting Benton (13-10) into Saturday’s Region 5 final, where it will face No. 7 Nevada.

“You just hate for that to happen, six points all year and she scores six in overtime,” Bender said. “It was just us not moving our feet. We just got a little too high and she stepped and put it in.”

Bear, a 5-foot-10 reserve post player, didn’t play in regulation and didn’t attempt a shot until her basket in the paint with 1:20 left gave Benton a 45-44 lead.

After Benton’s starting front court of Natalie Parizek and Jessica Heilman fouled out, the Bobcats turned to Bear.

“We knew the possibility for foul trouble was there, so we were working her in our offensive sets this week and getting ready for that,” Benton Community coach Laurie Donald said. “Did I expect her to come in and score six points? I don’t think I did, but I am so proud of her for being ready.”

Mid-Prairie took a 47-45 lead on a 3-pointer from Ali Riggan, but Bear tied the score at 47-47 on the ensuing possession to set up the final seconds.

Following Butters’ free throw, the Bobcats quickly pushed the ball into the front court and found Bear in the post.

“For the last two weeks we have been doing those cardiac situations at the end of the game,” Donald said. “We have run through all the scenarios. They know all the plays we are going to call, and I just felt like they really handled themselves well.”

Parizek helped Benton take a 19-17 halftime lead, scoring all 12 of her points in the first half.

Benton led 28-25 after three quarters and 38-34 with under 90 seconds to play before Mid-Prairie rallied.

Addison Rath’s basket cut the lead to 38-36. After Leah Brunssen made one of two free throws, Alex Rath knocked down a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left to cut the lead to 39-38.

Benton Community was called for a five-second violation trying to inbound the ball following Rath’s free throw, and Mid-Prairie took advantage.

Taylor Kurtz was fouled following an offensive rebound and hit two free throws with 7.2 seconds left to give Mid-Prairie its first lead of the second half.

“When we hit those free throws I really thought it was our turn to win one of these,” Bender said.

Benton rushed up the court following Kurtz’s free throw and Alyssa Wiebel was fouled with 3.1 seconds left.

Wiebel hit one of two free throws to force overtime — where Mid-Prairie made just one field goal, the 3-pointer by Riggan.

The Golden Hawks shot 29 percent from the floor, and ended their season 15-8.

“It was amazing we were even in the game with those numbers,” Bender said of the shooting percentage. “We missed I don’t know how many shots around the basket. We were a little intimidated by their size, but you have to finish those.”

Riggan led Mid-Prairie with 10 points. Alex Rath and Addison Rath each had nine.

Kurtz finished with nine points and 16 rebounds.

Wiebel had all of her game-high 15 points in the second half and overtime.

Reach Ryan Murken at 319-339-7369 or rmurken@press-citizen.com and follow him on Twitter at @rmmurken.

Benton Community (49)– Bailey Gallagher 0-3 0-0 0, Gabi Kuester 4-15 2-6 10, Molly Schmidt 0-2 0-0 0, Alyssa Wiebel 5-14 4-8 15, Lea Brunssen 0-3 2-4 2, Reanna Bear 3-3 0-0 6, Natalie Parizek 6-11 0-0 12, Jessica Heilman 2-7 0-2 4, Team 20-58 8-20 49.

Mid-Prairie (48) –Lexi Duwa 2-3 0-0 4, Alex Rath 1-11 7-10 9, Ali Riggan 3-8 1-2 10, Ali Butters 1-3 4-6 6, Celia Hostetler 1-1 0-0 2, Ireland Hostetler 0-2 0-0 0, Addison Rath 3-10 3-5 9, Taylor Kurtz 3-10 2-2 8, Team 14-48 17-25 48.

Benton Community





9 — 49






8 — 48

3-point field goals – Mid-Prairie 3-11(Alex Rath 0-4, A. Riggan 3-7), Benton Community 1-9 (Gallagher 0-2, Kuester 0-3, Wiebel 1-3, Brunssen 0-1). Rebounds – Mid-Prairie 46 (Kurtz 16), Benton Community 38 (Parizek 10).Turnovers – Mid-Prairie 21, Benton Community 14. Total fouls – Mid-Prairie 18, Benton Community 18. Fouled out – Parizek, Heilman (BC). Technical Fouls – None.


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