Hastings whips Park to earn third win, 67-49
It didn't show up in the win column until Tuesday night, but Hastings coach Chad Feikema knew it was happening.
His team, he said earlier this week, was turning a corner.
They had played some of their best basketball of the season. Things were looking better.
His opinion was confirmed Tuesday night with a decisive 67-49 win over Park.
Hastings is now 3-19 on the season, but three of their last four games have gone especially well.
"We're playing better now than we have played all season," Feikema said. "We just feel really good about where we are right now."
Hastings lost to a very good Roseville team last week, 75-39.
While the final score makes the game look rather lopsided, Feikema was encouraged by what he saw, especially through the first 10 minutes of the game.
It was 14-14 at one point in the first half, and Hastings was playing well, he said.
"The first 10 minutes or so were awesome," he said. "We had a couple turnovers and that led to some transition points for them, but I was really proud of our guys and how well we played, especially early. Roseville is the most talented team in the league and they're probably the best team in the league. They're playing really good basketball right now.
"We were just all over the floor defensively. Everything we did, we did it with great intensity."
Roseville took a 7-0 lead early, but then Hastings fought back.
"We weathered their initial push right off the opening tip," Feikema said. "Then we rebounded well and we played well, again, for the next several minutes.
"That game was a lot better than the final score might indicate. I came away from the game feeling quite good about my group, in large part because of how we played early.
"Down the stretch, our guys never quit. They played with really good effort throughout. After the game, their coaching staff was outside the locker room door. They were very impressed with our kids."
Ellis Williams continued his recent strong play with one of his best games of the season, Feikema said. Williams finished with 14 points.
"He was doing other things well, too," Feikema said. "He was running the floor and, overall, was being more aggressive on both ends of the floor. It was definitely one of his better games."
Josh Monjeau finished with four points, but Feikema was encouraged by what he saw.
"He was responsible for handling their full-court pressure," he said. "They extended into the full-court quite a bit. Josh is the one player we have who can neutralize that. He had to work hard to get the ball up the floor. He battled real hard that way."
Darius Wilkerson had a good game, too, scoring 11 points. Also scoring were: Tony Hammes 3, Matt Anderson 4 and Chase Keilers 2.
Vs East Ridge
Hastings lost to East Ridge last week in a close one, 55-51.
With the Raptors leading 55-51 and just 13 seconds remaining in the game, Hastings got the ball to Monjeau who raced down the floor and scored on a running layup to cut the score to 55-53. Monjeau, however, was whistled for traveling and that about ended the game for the Raiders.
Monjeau had a strong game, finishing with 15 points to lead the team.
"He did a great job of being able to get into the lane and finish some shots," Feikema said. "He has been running the screen roll very well for us. He's finding ways to score himself and he's finding ways to create opportunities for his teammates.
"A lot of the things we're doing offensively right now begin with what he can do off the dribble."
Feikema was thrilled with what he saw from his team on defense, too.
"Defensively, it was one of our best games," he said. "East Ridge is a pretty good team. For us to go into their place and have a chance to win down inside the final minute was really good for us."