Boys basketball: Irish end Raiders’ season with 52-40 win
The Hastings defense played great in Wednesday’s section quarterfinal game against the Rosemount Irish.
The loss ends Hastings’ season.
“We knew coming in that Rosemount was playing their best basketball of the season,” Hastings coach Chad Feikema said. “They were playing really well. They’d beaten Lakeville North and had given Apple Valley a good game. I was really pleased with our defensive play, but we didn’t pass well and we didn’t get out in transition.”
Rosemount was big inside at 6-6, 6-6 and 6-4. They played a 2-3 defense with their three big bodies down low. That made getting anything done inside a real challenge.
“The easiest way to beat a zone defense is to beat it down the floor before it can set up,” Feikema said. “We never got the ball down the floor as quickly as we needed to in order to take advantage of anything there. At times, we had an opportunity to move the ball ahead, but we just held on to it for too long. Even so, we got some open shots that we didn’t make.
“We became a jump-shooting team over their zone, and we weren’t making them at a good percentage.”
Hastings led 19-18 after the first half. In the second half of play, the Irish got the lead from the Raiders and then made their free throws down the stretch to pull away.
Hastings was led in scoring by Brady Gullicks, who had 14.
Michael Schnell and Brandon Haroldson each had nine. Colin Kummer scored eight.
Hastings will lose four seniors to graduation.
They are Gullicks, Cole Pottinger, Michael Schnell and Jack Schoeberl.
Gullicks is a three-year varsity player and a two-year starter. He was the team’s leading scorer this year, averaging 20.1 points per game. He scored 542 points this year, thanks in large part to a great shooting percentage. He made 48 percent of his shots from the field and 34 percent from three-point range.
“He had a great season,” Feikema said. “Obviously, we’re going to have to replace his scoring output. That’s a big factor. He’s a high character guy, too. He leads by example more than verbally. He’s the kind of guy you want to have in your basketball program.”
Schnell was a first-year starter as a senior and had a strong season.
“He really stepped it up in the second half of the season for us,” Feikema said. “We asked him to guard the other team’s best perimeter player. His biggest contribution for us was on the defensive end. He provided a lot of energy for us in the second half of the season.”
Pottinger and Schoeberl saw less varsity time but were good influences on the team, Feikema said.
Hastings finishes the season with a 12-15 overall record and a 9-7 mark in Metro East Conference play.
“I thought our guys got better as the season went along, in a lot of different ways,” Feikema said. “We got better at taking care of the ball. We turned it over less and played really well in close games. In our program now, we haven’t lost a game of nine points or less in under two years. If it’s been a close game over the last two years, we’ve found a way to win it. I’m proud of the guys for handling the close games really well. We’ve found a way to win those.”