HHS girls take second in MEC heading into playoffs
The Hastings girls' basketball team went 1-1 in the last week of their regular season, beating South St. Paul at home 56-25 on Senior Night and then traveling to Mahtomedi for a share of the conference championship where they lost 65-55. The Raiders finished the regular season 14-12 and 11-3 in the Metro East Conference for a second-place finish.
South St. Paul
Hastings pounced on South St. Paul right from the start and led 32-11 at halftime. This gave head coach Padrick Judd the chance to dive deep into the bench and rest his starters in preparation for the showdown in Mahtomedi.
"I thought the girls played very well," Judd said. "It's nice going into the big game on Friday (against Mahtomedi) that we are clicking on all cylinders, the girls got a chance to rest a little bit and get ready to play full strength on Friday."
Hastings honored its four seniors: Tori Brake, Laura Church, Danielle Hedman and Hayley Kazmierczak before the game. Tori Brake scored four points, while Church and Kazmierczak each had two.
Krystal Carlson was also honored before the game for becoming the all-time leading scorer in not only Hastings girls' basketball history, but also in boys' history. She scored 12 points, pulled down seven rebounds and had an assist, a steal and two blocks.
Haylee Yaeger scored 14 points, Mallory Brake had nine and Caprice Van Den Assem added seven. Megan Mattson, CiCi Carlson and Lauren Jackson all had two points.
Going into the showdown at Mahtomedi, Judd said the Raiders would have to do what they did not do in their last game against the Zephyrs: make shots. However, that's easier said than done. Hastings fell to Mahtomedi 65-55 after leading 31-25 at halftime. The Raiders barely shot 30 percent, making just 20-of-63 field goals, while Mahtomedi went 18-for-44 and made 22 free throws on top of it.
Judd said that in the second half the team did not execute but that it was good preparation for the playoffs.
"This was a fun atmosphere to play in, basically a playoff atmosphere," Judd said. "We came out in the first half and did a nice job forcing turnovers and executing our offense. In the second half we got away from the things that we did well in the first half and unfortunately we never were able to recover. Against a good team like Mahtomedi you have to play a full game and execute on both sides of the floor."
Carlson scored 22 points, had 15 rebounds, four steals and two blocks. Yaeger added 16 points and five rebounds, while Mallory Brake contributed nine points, nine rebounds, three assists, five steals and two blocks before fouling out. Mattson had four points, three assists and three steals, while CiCi Carlson and Van Den Assem each had two points.
The girls traveled to Park of Cottage Grove for the first round of section playoffs as the fifth seed to play the fourth-seed Wolfpack. Results were not available at the time of printing.