The Hastings boys' basketball team hosted the 15th annual Hastings Holiday Shootout this past week, Dec. 29-30. The Raiders lost to Irondale 75-63 on day one and then fell to Prescott in the third-place game 87-75 the next day. Farmington went on to win the tournament and Irondale took second. Hastings is now 4-5 as they enter conference action this week.
Despite the score being close with only a few minutes left in the game, head coach Chad Feikema said it was his team's poorest performance of the year.
"Put last night's game into a box, I thought it was our poorest performance of the year from an effort standpoint," Feikema said. "I just don't think we played with the kind of energy against Irondale that we did last week. It cost us. We never really got out in transition and defensively we didn't do a great job of stopping the guy we knew we had to stop."
That guy Hastings knew they had to stop was Sean Sutherlin, a senior guard who scored a game-high 26 points primarily by getting to the basket against a smaller Hastings lineup.
While the Raiders started off the game cold and got down quickly to Irondale, by the end of the half the roles had switched with Hastings going on a run to only be down 34-30 at halftime. The game was close until, with a few minutes left in the game, Irondale was able to open up a lead and extend it to eventually win by 12.
Colin Kummer led the Raiders in scoring with 16 points, while Sawyer Levos had 15. Brandon Haraldson added nine points, Jacob Brown seven, Nathaniel Wiese six and Grant Hollar five.
Both Hastings and Prescott lost their first games, leading to the Mississippi River rivalry game for third place on Friday. The Raiders started the game hot from three-point range and continued to hit big shot after big shot in the first half to lead the Cardinals 49-39. However, that momentum switched in the second half when the Prescott outscored Hastings 48-26 to win by 12.
"In the first half, a couple things, we passed the ball a lot better in the first half, even when they went zone," Feikema explained. "The ball didn't stick, and in the second half the ball got stuck and it didn't swing as quickly. So the shots we got weren't as clean as they were in the first half. I think the foul trouble for Grant Hollar played a role as well; he understands zones pretty well at the top and moves the ball, so when he had to sit for a while that affected our ball movement. But at the end of the day, the three guys that we were focusing on scored 69 of (Prescott's) 87 points. We just have to figure out how to stop the best players on other teams, we have to slow them down better. Defensively it just has to be better."
Those three guys for Prescott were Owen Hamilton, Nick Simon and Luke Murphy. Hamilton had a career-high 37 points while Simon and Murphy added 15 and 17 respectively.
Haraldson led the Raiders in scoring with 22 points, 15 of which came off three-pointers. Hastings shot the ball well throughout the game, making 11 three-pointers but had a scoring drought in the second half in which Prescott was able to come back and take a lead, which they extended at the end of the game when the Raiders had to foul.
Pacing Haraldson was Levos with 14 points, Jake Brake with 11 and Kummer with 10. Logan Nelson and Brown each had eight points and Nathaniel Wiese had two.
Hastings starts conference play this week. They travel to St. Thomas Academy Friday, Jan. 6, and as the season goes on, Feikema said his team needs to be more consistent.
"The basketball season is a bit of a roller coaster ride," Feikema said. "Last week was a high, we were really good last week, and this week is a low. So we need to be a little more consistent, first of all with our focus and our effort. We're not a very big team, so any drop in effort or focus has a big impact. We've got to be focused and play well together for us to be successful."
Editor’s note: The reporter who wrote this article, Alec Hamilton, is the brother of Owen Hamilton, who is mentioned in the section about Hastings’ game against Prescott.