The Hastings girls' basketball team won its first two games of the season thanks to some stifling defense and well-rounded offense this past week.
The Raiders beat St. Croix Lutheran on the road Nov. 28 and held Lutheran to just 29 total points for the 58-29 victory. Then on Thursday, Nov. 30, they hosted the Rosemount Irish, the team that knocked Hastings out of the section playoffs last season. However, this year's Rosemount team is very different from last year's and the Raiders easily handled them to the tune of 64-43.
Hastings rode their defense to victory at St. Croix Lutheran as they struggled to shoot the ball at times. The game was pretty much over at halftime when the Raiders held Lutheran to just 10 first-half points and led 30-10 at the half. Thirteen girls played for Hastings in the blowout victory and nine scored. Sophomore Mallory Brake led all scorers with 18 points, as well as notching a double-double with 13 rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks. Senior Krystal Carlson added a double-double of her own with 11 points, 14 rebounds, two assists and five steals. Seventh-grader Ashley Fritz had 10 points and was 7-for-7 from the free-throw line. Junior Megan Tietjen had five points; senior Caprice van den Assem added four; eighth-grader Maggie Schlottman and freshman Shea Levos each had three points and junior Megan Mattson and senior Cecilia Carlson each had two.
Against Rosemount, the Raiders' defense was not only stifling in its ability to prevent the Irish from scoring, it forced an abundance of turnovers as well.
Hastings started the game fast thanks to senior Krystal Carlson, who had 19 first half points and was near unstoppable at times (which she attributed to the Irish falling for her shot fake). The Raiders led 22-15 with seven minutes left in the first half, extended that lead to 32-21 with just under three minutes left and then took a 35-24 lead into halftime.
In the second half, the Irish continued to turn the ball over way too much and Hastings capitalized. They quickly opened up a 21 point lead (47-26) with 13 minutes left in the game and never looked back. The final was 64-43.
Krystal Carlson cooled down in the second half but still led all scorers with 24 points to go along with nine rebounds, four assists, seven steals and two blocks. After a slow first half, Brake scored 11 in the second half to finish with an incredible double-double of 17 points, 20 rebounds, three assists, five steals and two blocks. Van den Assem contributed eight points, senior Kate Notch had six and three other Raiders scored.
Two themes to take away from the start of the girls' season: if opponents cannot match up with Hastings' aggressiveness and length, the Raiders will continue to force turnovers at a high rate. Also, head coach Padrick Judd has gone deep into his bench the first two games and says he is very comfortable doing so, perhaps more so than in years past.
"We're working hard, we're doing the right things on defense and we're communicating," Judd said. "Offensively we're starting to execute better and to be perfectly honest, the shots fell tonight. The first game the shots weren't falling as well, but the girls want to keep winning and keep working hard."
Going into the Dec. 5 game against Eagan, Brake was 23 points away from 1,000 points. Hastings also hosts East Ridge on Saturday, Dec. 9.