Raiders pick up season’s fourth winThe Hastings boys basketball team is off to its best start in years. With another win Tuesday night, the team improved its record to 4-1.
By: Chad Richardson, The Hastings Star-Gazette
The Hastings boys basketball team is off to its best start in years. With another win Tuesday night, the team improved its record to 4-1.
Especially encouraging to the team and to coach Chad Feikema is that Hastings is getting solid contributions from a number of players. Every night, someone different steps up to help the team get a win.
“That’s the nice thing so far,” Feikema said. “Guys have done different things in different games to help us be successful.”
One good example of this was from last week’s game against Red Wing, which Hastings won 68-53.
The Raiders trailed by one point at halftime, 37-36, but came on strong in the second half to win going away, outscoring the Wingers 32-16 in the second half.
“It was a nice team effort,” Feikema said. “We had different people step up in different roles.”
Darius Wilkerson, for example, is one of the top Hastings scorers this season. In the Red Wing game, though, Ellis Williams and Quintan Weaver stepped up and each scored 18 points.
Wilkerson finished with 7 points, but also added five assists, nine rebounds and a number of steals.
“Darius did a lot of the other things against Red Wing,” Feikema said.
Williams, meanwhile, had a tough assignment against the Wingers, guarding their top player. Red Wing’s Joel Newman had scored 32 points the previous game, and Williams held him to just 7 points.
DaShaun Harris also scored in double figures for Hastings, adding 11 points. The previous game against Farmington, Harris came up big for the Raiders with nine rebounds.
Hastings got 6 points from Mitch Hoffman.
“He’s done a nice job on the boards as well,” Feikema said. “He’s been very consistent. He hasn’t had a breakout game, but he’s been very consistent. He’s making open shots, defending well and rebounding the ball well. He’s been very steady.”
Ben Carlson had 6 big points for Hastings. He hit a three-pointer in the first half, then shortly after that he drove through the lane with the ball, made a shot and got fouled. He converted on the free throw attempt. All of his points came in the first half, keeping the Raiders in the game.
“Those were a big six points for our team,” Feikema said. “
Josh Monjeau rounded out the Hastings scoring with two points. He is the team’s point guard and spent his night distributing the ball.
As for Hastings’ strong second half, Feikema wasn’t too surprised to see the Raiders take control. It’s something he’s seen his team do on a couple occasions already this year.
“We like to pressure the ball a lot defensively, and be aggressive,” he said. “Typically, as games wear on, that takes a little bit of a toll on the other team. They shoot a lower percentage, just because they’ve been hassled for so long. I think that was part of it – we wore them down.”
Feikema has continually talked to his team about defense being like a big puzzle, and that all the pieces must fit. Through the first few games, he saw the Raiders doing certain things well defensively, but there were pieces missing, if you will.
“In those first three games, we were really good at pressuring the basketball, and at the first rotation if we needed to help,” he said. “But with the second rotation to the baseline, we were slower.
“In those first three games, we’d do a couple things really well, but then one piece of the puzzle wasn’t quite working right and we’d give up some higher percentage shots.”
Hastings has three games remaining this year, with one at home tonight (Thursday) against Hudson at 7:15 p.m. Next week, the Raiders play host to their annual tournament.
Burnsville comes to town for a 7 p.m. game Wednesday, Dec. 28, and the second round is set for Thursday, Dec. 29.
Vs Mounds View
The only blemish on the Hastings record was a 53-44 loss to Mounds View on Friday.
The glaring problem in that one was shooting, especially from the free throw line. Hastings made just nine of 24 attempts.
“That’s not going to win you many games,” Feikema said. “We had shot the ball fairly well the first three games. It’s hard to say, exactly, what it was, but we just didn’t shoot well.”
Feikema had no trouble with the Hastings defensive effort.
“Defensively, we played with a great deal of effort again and played pretty well on the defensive end,” he said. “If you had said before the game that Mounds View was only going to get 53, I’d have said that sounded pretty good. I’d have thought we’d win. It didn’t work out that way.”
Throughout the game, Hastings would trim the Mustangs lead to four or five points, and the Raiders would be at the line with a chance to cut the deficit even more, but the free throws just weren’t falling.
Dozens of fouls were called throughout the game, and Hastings was in the double bonus for much of the second half, magnifying those struggles at the line.
Hastings was hurt with some foul trouble, especially in the first half. Wilkerson, Harris and Weaver each had two fouls with 10 minutes remaining in the first half, and Feikema had to rotate them in carefully, trying to be sure none of them picked up their third foul in the first half.
“We were trying to avoid them picking up that third foul, while trying to have enough offensive on the floor,” Feikema said. “All three of those guys are scorers. That held us back a little bit, too.”
It looked like Hastings was going to trail 23-18 heading into halftime, but at the buzzer Mounds View hit a three-pointer to go up eight.
“In a game being played the way this one was being played, that was a big shot,” Feikema said. “The difference between being down five and being down eight in that kind of a game is a pretty big.”
Weaver led Hastings in scoring with 12 points.
“He has been playing well,” Feikema said. “He’s been consistent on the offensive end – he’s very versatile. He can score in the post. He can shoot from the perimeter and he passes the ball well. Teams have to honor him, regardless of where he is on the floor.”
Wilkerson had 8, Hoffman had 8, Williams had 8, Harris had 5 and Monjeau had 3.
Hastings beat Prescott on Tuesday night, 62-54, to run their record to 4-1.
Four Hastings players scored in double figures to lead the way to victory.
Williams led the team with 17.
Weaver had 15, Harris had 14 and Wilkerson had 12.
Hoffman and Connor Raway each added two points.