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Raiders seek scoring punch

Hastings junior Darius Wilkerson goes in for a layup during the first half of Friday's game against Stillwater. (Star Gazette photo by Chad Richardson)1 / 2
Ellis Williams drives past a Stillwater defender during the first half of Friday's game. (Star Gazette photo by Chad Richardson)2 / 2

Football coaches say it all the time. Defense wins championships.

Baseball coaches say it all the time. If you pitch well and play good defense, you'll have a chance to win every game out there.

Basketball coaches praise defense, too, but at some point, some offense needs to be mixed in. It's that part of the game that Hastings is struggling with right now, and the result is a 2-15 record.

"In basketball, sooner or later, somebody has to score," Hastings coach Chad Feikema said. "You can play great defense, but somebody still has to score for you. That's where we are coming up a little short."

Effort isn't the problem. Through the first half of three losses last week, the Raiders played exceptional defense and held opponents to halftime scores of 19, 16 and 25.

"The kids played their tails off," Feikema said. "Great effort. We defend really well, especially in the first half. The bottom line is that, at some point, we can't score. Our inability to score means eventually we fall behind. Then we force the issue a little on offense, and we turn the ball over, and it leads to easy baskets for the other team."

Case in point? The 68-43 loss to Forest Lake on Jan. 25. It was 16-16 at the half.

In the second half, Forest Lake outscored Hastings 52-27 and the final was 68-43.

Still, Feikema is encouraged by the fight he is seeing from his team.

"Our effort lately has been fantastic," he said. "Several opposing coaches have commented on how hard our kids compete, regardless of the score."

In Saturday's 70-40 loss to Delano, Hastings trailed by six at 25-19 at the half.

Delano scored the first four points out of the break, and Feikema called a timeout. Hastings couldn't get a basket out of the timeout, and all of a sudden Delano led by 12.

"We're doing a lot of things really well," Feikema said. "The difference between us and other teams is that other teams can put the ball in the basket a little bit better than we can. We haven't been able to get baskets at key times to stop runs."

Game summaries

Hastings lost to Forest Lake on Jan. 25, 68-43.

Darius Wilkerson led Hastings with 13 points.

Mike Hubley had 9, Tony Hammes had 6, Josh Monjeau had 2, Ellis Williams had 4, Matt Anderson had 5 and DaShawn Harris had 4.

Hastings lost to Stillwater on Jan. 28, 44-28.

Williams led the Raiders with 12 points.

Wilkerson had 7, Hammes had 5, Mitch Hoffman had 2 and Peter Schultz had 2.

Hastings lost to Delano on Jan. 29, 70-40.

Hammes and Wilkerson each had 10 points.

Also scoring were Josh Monjeau 8, Ellis Williams 5, Chase Keilers 2, Ben Carlson 1, Peter Schultz 2 and Mike Hubley 2.