HHS drops two MEC matchups by near-identical scores
The Hastings boys' basketball team struggled this past week against two top-of-the-conference teams in North St. Paul and Tartan. On Tuesday, Jan. 17, the Raiders traveled to North St. Paul where they fell, 71-44, to the Polars. Then on Friday, they went to Tartan to face the perennial powerhouse Titans and lost with an almost identical score, 71-46. Hastings is now 6-8 overall and 2-3 in the Metro East Conference.
North St. Paul
After ending a three-game skid over the holidays, the Raiders won two conference matchups last week and seemed to be on the right track. However, this last week against the Polars they struggled to execute in the first half. However, the game was still in reach toward the end.
"We were only down eight with 3:30 to go," head coach Chad Feikema said. "However, we allowed two offensive rebounds on one possession that ended with an NBA-range 3-pointer. Then from there we had a few turnovers that allowed them to blow the game open."
Hastings ended up losing by 27 points, 71-44, after scoring just 16 in the first half.
"We had a season-high 22 turnovers and we shot the ball poorly, a season-low 32 percent for the game," Feikema explained. "However, in the second half, I thought we played better up until that point late in the game."
Feikema said the team knew they had to execute in two areas for them to come away with a win.
"We said the two keys to the game were limiting turnovers in the face of their pressure and taking charges at the rim," Feikema said. "We didn't limit turnovers and while we did take three charges, we gave up a lot of points inside of 5 feet."
Despite the result, Feikema said there were positives from the game the Raiders could build upon.
"We defended really well in the half-court; our defense wasn't a problem," Feikema said. "We forced 18 turnovers and I was very encouraged by our defense outside of giving up some offensive rebounds."
Jake Brake led the team in scoring with 11 points and Feikema said he has really stepped up recently.
"Jake Brake continues to play really well, he has been in double-figures since Christmas," Feikema said.
Jake Brown and Colin Kummer both had 10 points in the loss, while Brandon Haraldson contributed eight points and Grant Hollar three.
The Raiders lost to Tartan, who is second in the MEC behind Mahtomedi, 71-46 on Friday night in Tartan. Stats were not yet available at press time.
On Tuesday, Jan. 24, Hastings traveled to conference-leading Mahtomedi and will host South St. Paul Friday, Jan. 27, during which will be the second annual Coaches vs. Cancer game. All students attending will receive free pizza, prizes will be drawn for and given out, and the event will serve as a fundraiser for a Hastings family battling cancer.