Raiders reach the end of the road
The 2010-11 Hastings boys basketball season concluded in Rochester last week, when the Raiders lost to the Mayo Spartans, 56-39, in the first round of the section tournament.
Mayo had a halftime lead of 22-14. The Spartans outscored the Raiders 34-25 in the second half to pull away and advance. The Spartans were the No. 3 seed while Hastings was the No. 6.
"Overall, we played pretty well," coach Chad Feikema said. "It was a single-digit game most of the night. We played pretty well on the defensive end for most of the night. We had to extend (our defense) late, and we probably didn't do real well that at that. Other than that, we defended really well throughout the night."
"We didn't shoot a real good percentage again, but we kept them out of their transition game because we limited our turnovers," Feikema said.
Hastings was limited offensively early due in part to a match-up zone that Mayo was running.
"It took us a little bit to figure out what was going to work best against that," Feikema said. "We made some adjustments and finally we were able to find something where we had some movement. Then we were much better. The players did a nice job of settling in and making adjustments as the game went on."
Ellis Williams led the Raiders in scoring with 18 points.
"He played a lot of minutes and had one of his better games," Feikema said. "We gave him a lot of responsibility in terms of trying to control the game with tempo. He had a pretty good effort."
Aaron Stevens scored nine points for the Raiders.
"He did a really nice job of making offensive cuts and finding open areas in the zone," Feikema said. "He got touches and catches in the middle of the zone. He just did a nice job of cutting and finding open areas. He did hit one three as well."
Also scoring were Tony Hammes 4, Matt Anderson 2, Mitch Hoffman 2, Mike Hubley 3 and Jon Sindt 1.
Hastings finished the season with a 3-22 record.
"The final record wasn't what we hoped would happen, but overall the guys did a nice job of fighting through a lot of adversity," Feikema said. "They kept working and kept playing hard."
That adversity was of the self-afflicted variety, with nearly 50 games lost due to suspensions.
"We had a lot of off-the-court issues," Feikema said. "They were an obstacle. We had to fight through a lot of difficult things throughout the year. Up until the Park game (on Feb. 22), we had continued to get better and better. We had made a lot of progress, but before that game we learned two of our best players were no longer allowed to play. That last hurdle was the last straw.
"I was feeling good about our team up to that point. We had made so much progress. We had become a pretty good basketball team. We had fought through a lot of adversity and we were finding ways to get better."
Feikema knew going into the season that there were some question marks regarding the team.
"We had a difficult time finding guys who could score," he said. "That was a concern when our season began, because we graduated two 1,000-point scorers from a year ago. On the floor, we didn't shoot a very good percentage. I was really proud of our guys in several regards, though. We were playing hard."
Preparations are under way for next season, and Hastings fans can be optimistic that the Raiders will return a more experienced lineup next season.
"We have some guys that will come back with quite a bit of experience now," he said. "It's just a matter of them taking their games to the next level."