Raiders boys' basketball falls to Eagan in first round of sections
The Hastings boys' basketball season came to an end Tuesday night in Eagan as the No. 6-seeded Raiders fell to the No. 3 Wildcats 80-62 in the first round of the Section 3AAAA playoffs. Eagan's 3-point shooting and defensive game-plan proved too much to handle for the Raiders, though head coach Chad Feikema said his team did not see anything unexpected.
"Well we needed two things. Defensively we needed to accomplish not giving them catch-and-shoot 3s because we knew they had a bunch of guys who could catch and shoot the ball really well," he said. "That was the biggest key and it was on three different parts of our sheet, 'we cannot allow them to get catch-and-shoot 3s'. They've got good quickness, they have a lot of guys who can shoot the ball well and we did not get out there like we hoped we would or thought that we would."
"That was number one, and secondly we knew they would double Isaac (Rabaey) and chase Matt (Schlottman) and we needed other guys to make shots. Sully (Levos) did that early, he hit a couple and that was a boost, but it wasn't enough. We needed other guys to be able to make shots, and so in the end it's kind of the story of our season. When we had other guys step up and have good games, double-figures and a good percentage, we were competitive and had a chance to win those games. When we didn't, we didn't."
Hastings started the game with a 9-3 lead after getting early 3-pointers from senior Sully Levos and fellow senior Matt Schlottman. However, Eagan then called timeout and made a few adjustments that were not unexpected, but still proved effective versus the Raiders.
"The first thing that they did is they went to an overload look that we expected, I thought that we defended that really well," Feikema said. "And then essentially they went to what teams have done to us lately, they said 'we can beat your man down the middle, we're going to drive it' and then when we got caught in an over-help situation then that created the catch-and-shoot 3s. We made a couple of mistakes then once they got a couple of drives in where we would over-commit to a drive and not stay with the shooter."
After being up 9-3, the Wildcats went on a run to lead 14-10 with just under 11 minutes left in the first half. From there, Eagan outscored Hastings 22-15 and it was a 33-16 run after the timeout. That Wildcat run was fueled mostly by the three-ball as the Wildcats made eight in the first half and 15 total for the game. Meanwhile, the Raiders—who also thrive on 3-point shooting—made just three of them the rest of the game after the barrage to open the game. Eagan led 36-25 at halftime.
While the first half was free-flowing and took just 25 minutes, the second half was the complete opposite with fouls and whistles aplenty. Hastings was much more aggressive going to the basket in the second half, which led to some of those fouls, but the Raiders were in the double-bonus with more than nine minutes left in the game while the Wildcats were also in the bonus. Every time Hastings seemed ready to make a run, there was either a stoppage or Eagan made another 3-pointer, which prevented any real comebacks. A total of 39 fouls were called in the game and combined both teams shot 41 free throws in the second half. Eagan went on to win 80-62.
Rabaey led the team with 17 points as he scored at the basket, from the free-throw line and in the mid-range. Levos had 13 points including the first six for the Raiders and 10 in the first half, while in the second half he was limited by foul trouble before fouling out with just over four minutes left in the game. Sophomore Japheth Gudissa scored 12 points, all coming in the second half, while junior Trey Swanson added seven. Schlottman scored six points, junior Dylan Wagner added four, fellow junior Colby Zak scored two and junior Izzy Arnold contributed one.
Eagan will go on to face No. 2 Burnsville, who barely edged out No. 7 Rosemount Tuesday night as well. On the top half of the bracket, No. 1 Eastview beat No. 8 Henry Sibley by over 40 points and will face No. 4 Park who beat No. 5 Apple Valley by 29. Those games will be played on Friday, March 8, with the section championship game on March 14 at Farmington.