By Bruce Karnick [email protected] An up and down season for the Raider boys ended abruptly on St. Patrick’s Day as the Rosemount Irish ran the Raiders out of town, winning 87-74. Hastings …
By Bruce Karnick
An up and down season for the Raider boys ended abruptly on St. Patrick’s Day as the Rosemount Irish ran the Raiders out of town, winning 87-74.
Hastings started the game strong, jumping out to an eight-point lead. Shots were falling on command and Rosemount had no answer for the early raider onslaught. Eventually, the Raider lead would build to double digits, at one point, they were 16 points ahead, but then, the Irish big men stepped up.
“We just couldn’t get a rebound, and rebounding is my strength, I think that’s why coach put me in,” Senior Jake Sandquist said after the game.
Finishing close is one spot Hastings lacked in this year. When the majority of the players are under six feet tall, the team could struggle in the paint. Something Head Coach Chad Feikema discussed while recapping the season.
“We knew going in, a couple things. We were going to have to shoot the ball well. We have a number of guys that shoot the ball really well from the perimeter. We are not a real good team of finishing around the rim, generally, because we’re smaller, so we don’t score near the basket as well as most of our opponents do but we shoot the three, a lot better than most of our opponents do. And so, we shot the ball well, defensively we knew we were just going to have to be disruptive. We had to be disruptive, and not allow the ball to go where they wanted to go when they wanted to go there and for a large part of the game, we did that. We were disruptive to them most of the first half, even their scores kind of came out of broken actions. So, in the first half, in particular, I thought we did both things that we needed to do well. We shot the ball well, and we were disruptive,” explained Feikema.
Even being disruptive the first half of the game, Rosemount kept inching back when Hastings started to slowly miss the longer-range shots. By the end of the first half, Hastings was clinging to a 39-37 lead.
Coming out of the half was a complete 180, Rosemount jumped out to a double-digit lead and never looked back. Shots for Hastings were simply not falling and at one point, the Raiders went over eight minutes scoring only two points. “Kind of a turning point in starting the second half, we got a couple of pretty good shots in. Actually I think three of them if I recall, were right around the rim. We’ll call them layups, but they were contested layups and we missed them. And if those had gone in, the feel of how the second half begins was different. We kind of knew going in, we had to establish our thee point shots to start the game, and we did that. We knew that they would counter punch and they did. It was a two-point game at the half. And I felt like we needed to throw the first punch out of the half, and unfortunately, we missed a couple of shots around the rim. They defended the three-point line better. And then we didn’t finish around the rim, and that allowed them to throw the first punch then to start the second half,” said Feikema.
The important piece of the game? The boys never gave up, something that made Feikema proud. “I was really proud of our guys. In this sense that, you know, they never quit. I told our guys regardless of what happens, no matter what happens within the game, we cannot quit, we have to fight to the end.
Rosemount eventually garnered an 18-point lead but Hastings fought back. That lead to Rosemount needing to keep their starters in to the end.
As far as the season is concerned, Coach Feikema was happy the guys got to play, especially for the seniors. “I was really happy that they had, number one, they got to play their senior year, you know, I think there was a time when that was in doubt. So, I’m really happy that they got to do that and I told the group afterwards I’m really proud of the team, and I said 26 teams now to look back on. And so when I look back at this group, it’s going to be a group that I’m extremely proud of because you look at at the season that they had here. We started three guys that were 5’10” Our starting center was six feet, that’s all and we’re a class 4A school, and we were extremely competitive played very well, take out the first four or five games. After that, everything we did was competitive with everybody played so. And I think that’s a testament to the, the toughness the competitiveness and the determination of some of our seniors.”
Feikema continued, “Japhi [Gudissa] and Evan [McGinnis], were our captains and both brought great things to our team, both on the floor and from a leadership standpoint. I thought Carter Olson had to add an amazing senior year. He was almost seven rebounds a game and 11 points a game. You know, so he really stepped up for us had a great year, super proud of him and we had other guys have big nights Jack Dunn had a 22-point game and win at St. Thomas. Connor Deme had multiple games where he would have three threes. You know, so it’s a high character groups, great kids. We’ve been fortunate in our program to have a number of really good kids and in our senior classes is filled with good guys.”
Feikema then turned to what the future holds. “We’ve got more guys with some experience coming back now. Michael [Mitchell] is just a game changer and when he when he’s dialed in and just really got a knack for things defensively, he changes a lot of things. He’s dynamic he’s one of those guys when he’s in game you know something’s gonna happen. Sometimes you don’t know if it’s gonna be good or bad,” Feikema joked, “but something is about to happen, he’s just that dynamic. Axel [Arnold] is our steadying influence. He doesn’t score a lot but he does everything else and it kind of keeps us steady and so you know those two guys will come back and it’ll be fun to see, you know, who kind of steps up from there, once we feel like we’ve got juniors, seniors to be that, have a good opportunity to step up we had some underclassmen as well have really good years on JV so we’ll have a much better feel for what that will look like when we get to get through our summer. Hopefully we get to play a bunch of games in the summer like a normal year and show some growth.”
The normal summer season consists of a few weeks of practices in June for the full squad then nearly 40 games throughout the region. Once the summer season concludes, Coach Feikema has a much better grasp of where the team is it, something he did not get this season due to COVID restrictions.
The main takeaway from the season is these boys never quit, never gave excuses, they just battled and worked hard to improve each week. They had key victories over St. Thomas Academy and Tartan.
Senior Carter Olsen drives the lane to increase Hastings’ first half lead over Rosemount. Unfortunately, even with Olsen’s 25 points, that lead did not hold and Hastings was bounced from the tournament, ending their season at 8-10. Photo by Bruce Karnick