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The Prairiland Patriots basketball team has certainly been hot of late, and they continued building their momentum Friday with a gritty, determined effort against Rains, and they ultimately came away with a 47-43 win.

Though the game was neck-and-neck until the final buzzer sounded, Prairiland never trailed, leading from the very first basket of the night.

The two teams were neck-and-neck in each of the first two quarters, as both teams refused to back down.

Even while Rains’ defense did a solid job against the Patriots, Prairiland head coach Steven Weddle said his squad responded in kind, with some truly elite defense against a Rains offense that has proved itself to be potent this year.

“The defense was the difference for us tonight; that’s where we won the game,” he said. “I really think Rains was unprepared for the level of defense we played.”

One of the most memorable moments of the game came when good defense led to offensive results early in the fourth quarter. Guard Eli Rolen stole the ball and then delivered a no-look pass right on the money to a streaking Jeremiah Harrison for an easy bucket, sending the home fans into a frenzy, Weddle said.

Weddle also praised the work his team did on the glass, gobbling up rebounds and neutralizing Rains’ post size.

“They have a couple bigs who combined for about 13 or 14 rebounds the first time we played them,” Weddle said. “This time, it didn’t seem like they had more than five or six rebounds.”

Weddle said confidence on the Patriots is high heading into the second half of district play.

“A lot of people don’t know this, but we’ve got 12 wins,” he said. “We’re playing good, and getting better each week. We’re right there in the mix for a playoff spot, and that’s something we’re trying to do.”

Tommy Culkin is sports editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6972 or at tommy.culkin@theparisnews.com.

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