By Andy Krutsinger, Mt. Pleasant News
CEDAR RAPIDS ? Two of Class 3A?s best teams met in Cedar Rapids on Saturday for a high-profile matchup at the Wells Fargo Advisors shootout in Cedar Rapids. It was No. 2 Mt. Pleasant who would score the big win on the day, pulling away late for a 55-41 win over No. 7 Charles City.
The game started out on a methodical pace as Charles City looked to slow the game down and set up their halfcourt offense. Despite the timid pace, Mt. Pleasant was able to win the period 11-6, due in part to a shut down defensive effort in the first eight minutes.
The Comets continued to struggle to score against the Panthers in the second quarter, and the Mt. Pleasant offense began to catch fire. Jonathan Ita started the period off with five points and Brady Sartorius scored seven in the period.
Mt. Pleasant held a comfortable lead at halftime, 27-15. Sartorius led the Panthers with 11 points in the first half.
Charles City was able to bounce back in the third quarter, cutting the lead to single digits at 42-34 heading in to the fourth period.
The Comets cut the lead down to five points with just under four minutes to play, but they couldn?t get any closer. Jordan Magnani hit a couple of free throws with three minutes remaining, and that sparked an 11-4 Panther run to close out the game.
The five senior starters scored every point for Mt. Pleasant in the win. Sartorius led the way with 20 points, six rebounds and five assists, all of which led the team. Colin Mulford scored 14 points, and the trio of Magnani, Ita and Kieran Kohorst had seven each.
?I really want to give a shout out to our junior varsity squad because they were Charles City for the past three days,? said a victorious Paul Rundquist after the game. ?We were running them through all our sets, and they?ve got about 20 sets. We ran them through all those sets and they knew them, so they were very instrumental in tonight?s victory.?
The win marked 300 career wins for Coach Rundquist, with the vast majority of those coming at Mt. Pleasant. After the win, he said it was a product of being around basketball talent.
?It?s just a credit to all the kids that we?ve had at Mt. Pleasant, and some of those are with the kids from Mediapolis,? Rundquist said. ?So I?ve just been fortunate to be around a lot of super talented kids and good families.?
Win number 299 came less than 24 hours before the Charles City game when the Panthers beat Keokuk 61-24 on the road to stay undefeated in conference play.
Sartorius led the charge with 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and six steals against the Chiefs. The four assists were enough to break yet another school record. He now holds the career assists record, breaking Jeff Holtgrewe?s record of 304. Holtgrew played from 1971-1974.
Mulford hit double-digits against Keokuk as well, finishing with 12 points. Ita had eight points and seven steals. Magnani had seven points. Kohorst, Maison Ashton and Rhett Zeglen scored five points apiece. Jacob Stukerjergen had three, and Tucker Johnson finished with one point and six steals.