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Boys basketball: Hastings gets close win over Woodbury

Up until last week, the Hastings boys basketball team either lost close games or won blowouts.

The one game Hastings hadn't won was a close one.

But that's no longer the case for the Raiders.

Hastings beat Woodbury thanks to some key plays down the stretch, 54-51.

"This is the win we've been waiting for," Hastings coach Chad Feikema said. "We knew the next step for us was to win a close game. This was definitely that. I had thought about that down the stretch: this is what we've wanted to see. We had some guys step up and make some big plays."

Feikema remembers a big drive to the basket by senior Mike Hill. He was fouled and made two free throws. He remembers a pass by Hill to Shane Monjeau for a lay-up. And he remembers some big free throws by Dan Guelle late.

"Those were some of our big plays," Feikema said. "I was really pleased. To go into Woodbury and win at their place, a traditionally strong basketball program, was a big thing for us."

Hastings fell behind early, 9-1, before making a run and taking a 27-25 lead at halftime.

"The second half was back and forth and close throughout," Feikema said.

With about 90 seconds to play and the score tied, Woodbury hit a three-pointer to go up three. That's when Hill made his play, got fouled and hit two free throws. Hastings stopped Woodbury on its next possession, and that's when Monjeau scored to put Hastings up one.

Woodbury missed a shot on its trip down the court and Guelle was fouled after Hastings got the rebound. He made his first free throw to give Hastings a two-point lead. Woodbury called a timeout and when play resumed Guelle hit the second free throw to give Hastings the three-point lead.

Feikema said one of the keys to the game was the defensive play of Nick Gmiterko. He took Woodbury's top player, Nick Quicksell and kept him in check.

"Quicksell had 15 points, but that's below his average," Feikema said. "Nick made him work hard to get shots."

Monjeau led Hastings in scoring with 20. Gmiterko had 16.

Also scoring were Mike Hill, 8; Dan Guelle, 4; Darius Wilkerson, 3; and Tony Hammes, 3.

Vs Mounds View

Hastings lost to Mounds View on Friday, Jan. 8, 49-47.

Hastings built an early lead when the Mustangs came out in a man-to-man defense. The Mustangs, though, switched up their defense and went to a 1-3-1 zone.

"That's the first time we've seen that this year," Feikema said. "We had a bit of a difficult time adjusting and moving the ball around to get the shots we liked. We were still up at the half, but they took an the lead early in the second half."

Hastings fought back and actually had a three-point attempt late in the game that would have tied the score, but the shot didn't fall.

While Hastings lost, Feikema thinks his teamed picked up some valuable experience in the game.

"We had stretches where we didn't attacked their 1-3-1 very well," Feikema said. "We had other stretches where we did move the ball well and got some good shots. There were a lot of positives to take away from this game. I was glad we could see something like this in the regular season. It wouldn't have been good if we would have got to March and someone would have sprung this on us in a playoff game."

Defensively Hastings had another good game. Just a few days prior, Mounds View had scored 79 points in a game.

"I was really pleased with our effort again," Feikema said. "We worked really hard defensively. We gave ourselves the opportunity to beat a good team."

Scoring for Hastings went like this: Shane Monjeau, 21; Nick Gmiterko, 10; Mike Hill, 10; Darius Wilkerson, 4; Ellis Williams, 1; and Tony Hammes, 1.