Raiders lose to Mahtomedi, breaking 27-game conference winning streak
The Hastings girls' basketball team's 27-game win streak in the Metro East Conference came to an end this past week. When all else is even, basketball comes down to making shots. On Tuesday Jan. 24, Mahtomedi made more than Hastings and came away with the win, giving the Raiders their first loss in the Metro East Conference since the 2014-15 season. Hastings lost 53-46 on Military Appreciation Night to fall to 8-9 overall and are now in second place in the MEC with a 5-1 conference record.
Both teams started slow and the first half turned into a grind-it-out struggle offensively, with made shots coming at a premium. Mahtomedi led 21-17 at halftime, but the second half saw an uptick in Hastings' offense. The Zephyrs kept making runs to try and establish a solid lead, but each time the Raiders answered to keep the game close. However, Hastings was unable to retake the lead and had trouble defending junior Emma Grothaus, who is a Division I basketball recruit committed to Lehigh University.
"It was a pretty well-played game by both teams," head coach Padrick Judd said. "It really came down to them being able to knock down shots and we could not. We out-rebounded them, played great defense, had only 12 turnovers and went 15-for-19 from the line. Unfortunately, when you shoot 25 percent from the field, it is really hard to win any basketball game."
The Raiders made just 14-of-56 shots from the field and were 3-for-18 from the three-point line. Mallory Brake led Hastings in scoring with 21 points while Krystal Carlson was right behind her with 18. However, combined the two were just 11-for-35 — 31 percent — in a game where each possession counted. Tori Brake had three points from a layup and free throw after she was fouled. Megan Mattson and Haylee Yaeger each had two points. Mahtomedi's Grothaus led all scorers with 24 points.
There is still plenty of season left for both teams, which Judd said will be the focus heading into their next matchup with Mahtomedi.
"The good news is, we get a chance to play Mahtomedi again at the end of the season," Judd said. "If we can take care of the games in front of us right now, we will have a chance to play for the conference title at the end of the season. Right now the focus is on next week with Hill-Murray."
Hastings has two conference games upcoming. They played Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Hill-Murray and then host Henry Sibley on Friday, Feb. 3.
Tuesday night was also Military Appreciation Night. The national anthem featured a color guard and all veterans and service members were given free admission.