The Hastings boys' basketball team lost to Rosemount 70-40 in the first round of section 3AAAA playoffs Tuesday, March 7. The Raiders, the No. 6-seed, traveled to Rosemount to face the third-seeded Irish in a rematch from earlier in the season — when Hastings also traveled to Rosemount and lost 69-58. The Raiders finished their season with a 12-15 overall record and took fifth in the Metro East Conference after going 8-8 in the MEC.
The game started according to script for Hastings as they packed the lane and limited the Loehr brothers' impact (seniors Alec, 6-foot-8, and Luke, 6-foot-7, both committed to Navy), while Brandon Haraldson started the game off with a 3-pointer.
"Defensively I thought we started pretty well," head coach Chad Feikema said. "We executed our game plan well and Jake Brake disrupted passing lanes and played good help defense."
The Raiders trailed 9-5 over five minutes into the game as they kept it close, but then from there things snowballed.
"We only gave up 18 points with six minutes left in the half," Feikema said. "But we got behind and had to abandon the game plan."
Luke Loehr got hot and Hastings' offense struggled as Rosemount extended their lead to 18-8 with just over six minutes left in the first half. Haraldson was the Raiders' offense for much of the game and had nine of the team's first 11 points as the Irish led 27-11 with three minutes and 27 seconds left in the half. The Raiders trailed 31-13 at halftime.
"Offense was the story for us in the first half," Feikema explained. "We couldn't get shots to fall. In the second half we tried to get out in transition and get some easy baskets but we struggled."
Hastings was unable to flip the switch to get their offense going and Rosemount went on an 8-3 run to start the second half as turnovers plagued the Raiders. Hastings could not mount a run or a comeback and trailed 55-27 with 7:48 left in the game.
The play of Haraldson was a bright spot for Hastings as the senior played extremely well the entire game. He made five 3-pointers on his way to a team-high 20 points in what would be his last game as a Raider.
"Brandon has a history of being a shot-maker," Feikema stated. "There were times this year when we were struggling offensively and we set something up for him. He made some big shots for us all year."
Junior Sawyer Levos was the only other Raider to score in double figures with 10 points, while seniors Jake Brake and Nathaniel Wiese each had four points. Colin Kummer added two points.
Hastings graduates eight seniors after this season and almost all of them were key contributors this season. They are Kummer, Wiese, Haraldson, Jacob Brake, Logan Nelson, Jacob Streeter, Jacob Brown and Peyton Housker.
Looking ahead to next season, Feikema said that next year's team may have the most height of any team he's had the past nine years.
"Our biggest obstacle the last few years has been our lack of size," Feikema explained. "We have some sophomores who have some height and will continue to grow. We will be longer next year and those kids will be playing a lot between now and then. We have more kids who are looking to play AAU (grassroots traveling basketball) basketball this year than ever before."