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Raiders fall in pair of SEC matchups

There just aren't any easy nights for the Hastings boys basketball team. The Raiders, playing with a small and inexperienced varsity roster, have taken some lumps so far this season. That said, coach Chad Feikema continues to be encouraged by what he is seeing from his team.

"We know that sometimes, the wins might be tougher to come by," he said. "At the same time, we really feel like we are making some progress. As we get into the second round of the conference, we're going to be dangerous. Our guys are making progress and learning fast."

Hastings has an overall record of 2-10 on the season. The team is 1-7 in Suburban East Conference play. Roseville leads the league with a 7-1 record, and East Ridge and Woodbury are each 6-2.

Two of those losses came this week. On Tuesday, Hastings lost to Cretin-Derham Hall, 80-56. Cretin had four players in double figures. Hastings was led in scoring by Craig Nielsen, who had 18. Sam Skoyen had 10, Zach Wiese had eight, Alex Wiese had four, Chris Webb had six, Ross Dylla had two, Joe Dittrich had six and Bryce Garvey had two.

On Friday Hastings lost to Forest Lake, 63-54.

Hastings trailed by 10 early in the game, but then the team went on a big run to close out the first half, outscoring the Rangers 15-1 to take a 35-30 lead into halftime.

The Rangers played a 1-3-1 zone, which Hastings figured out in the first half.

"The guys got into a rhythm against it late in the first half, and we were able to make a run," Feikema said.

In the second half, though, it was a different story.

"When we came out in the second half, we were a little less aggressive attacking the gaps," Feikema said. "We didn't do as good of a job of moving without the ball. We didn't cut as well, and we didn't find the gaps as well. When we did attack it well in the second half, we didn't shoot as well as we did in the first half."

In the second half, Forest Lake outscored Hastings 33-19 to pull away and win.

The game was tied 45-45 with about six minutes to play, and from that point on it was all Forest Lake. They scored six points on back-to-back three pointers, and pulled away.

"This is the kind of game where, as we gain experience, we are going to win," Feikema said. "We will get better during those close-game situations."

Dittrich led Hastings in scoring with 13 points.

"Joe played really well, especially in the first half," Feikema said. "He really attacked things from the guard position. He had a really nice ballgame."

Alex Wiese had nine points.

"He really stepped up for us, again," Feikema said. "He's put together a couple good games for us here. He gave us some energy out there."

Sam Skoyen, the team's leading scorer this year, had 12 points.

Also scoring were: Webb, three; Dylla, five; Pottinger, four; Garvey, two; Nielsen, six.