MT. PLEASANT — The Mt. Pleasant boys basketball team scrapped with Class 4A’s Cedar Rapids Washington on Monday night, but the Panthers couldn’t net a nonconference win. Despite cutting a nine-point fourth quarter deficit to just two, the Panthers were upended, 54-50.
Mt. Pleasant looked strong early on. The Panthers held an early eight-point lead, thanks in part to eight first-quarter points from Sam Jerrell. Cedar Rapids Washington cut that lead down to one possession before the first horn, and the Pantehrs’ lead was 14-11 after one.
“We had been kind of waiting for Sam to have a breakout,” said Mt. Pleasant head coach Eric Rawson. “I think tonight was that game. He shot with a lot of confidence.”
The Warriors scored 16 points in the second quarter, nine of which came from senior Quincy Underwood. The Panthers went cold from the field, and the free-throw line, toward the end of the first half, and Cedar Rapids Washington took a 54-50 lead into the locker rooms.
Mt. Pleasant trailed by nine points, at 41-32, entering the final eight minutes, but the Panthers wouldn’t go away without a fight. Mt. Pleasant scored the first seven points of the fourth quarter, five of which came from Brevin Wilson, and it was a nail-biter until the final minute.
Mt. Pleasant trailed 49-47 with 25.1 seconds left on the clock, and Cedar Rapids Washington sophomore Traijan Sain on the free-throw line. After making the first, Sain’s second free throw rattled out, but Underwood corralled the offensive rebound and laid the ball up for the dagger.
The Panthers trailed by seven points in the final seconds, but Owen Vansickel drained a half-court shot at the buzzer to cut the final deficit to four.
Jerrell finished the night with 15 points to lead the Panthers. Dewon Trent tallied 14. Brevin Wilson had nine. Vansickel and Chase Williamson tallied six apiece.
Underwood scored 24 points to lead Cedar Rapids Washington.
Mt. Pleasant is now 5-6 overall. The Panthers will put their 2-3 Southeast Conference record on the line on Friday night when they host Fairfield.
“That’s a big one, obviously,” Coach Rawson said. “We’ve got to come into that with great intensity and focus.”