By Derek Simon [email protected] On Tuesday night the Hastings boys basketball team travelled north on HWY 52 to Inver Grove Heights for a rematch against Simley. The Spartans defeated the …
By Derek Simon
On Tuesday night the Hastings boys basketball team travelled north on HWY 52 to Inver Grove Heights for a rematch against Simley. The Spartans defeated the Raiders in Hastings last month 56-50. Simley entered Tuesday with a 3-3 overall record and a 2-3 mark in the Metro East Conference. The Raiders entered the contest with identical 3-6 overall and conference records.
Hasting jumped out to an early 11-2 lead, but then struggled shooting the ball late in the first half. With the misses, Simley ran the floor for some easy transition baskets. The Spartans led 33-27 at halftime. Evan Mc-Ginnis and Carter Olson kept the Raiders in the game with two three-point baskets each. With 2:50 remaining in the game, Michael Mitchell took over. Mitchell hit a three-point basket to tie the game 49-49. With 2:16 remaining, Mitchell hit another three to give the Raiders a 52-51 lead. With 59 seconds left, he then was fouled on a made basket and converted the old school three-point play. The Raiders lead was 55-53. With the Raiders up 57-55 with 11 seconds to play, Mitchell stole the inbounds pass. After a Raiders free throw, Mitchell again stole the inbounds pass with four seconds remaining and ran out the clock. Hastings comes back to win by a score of 58-55.
Olson led the Raiders with 19 points. Mitchell scored 14 points, Japhe Gudissa was also in double digits with 12 points. McGinnis scored nine points, Connor Deme added three points, and Kelvin Maher had one point.
St. Thomas Academy was the Raiders opponent on Friday night. The Cadets have struggled all season, entering the game with an 0-7 overall record and a 0-6 conference mark. The Cadets did play Hastings tough earlier this year in Mendota Heights, falling to the Raiders 72-64 in overtime.
The Raiders again struggled early against the Cadets trailing 28-20 at the break. The Raiders would make a comeback in the second half, with their leading scorer on the bench.
“It came when I was out of the game. We had a couple big shots at the, in the middle of the second half, and it was my teammates. I was out, I got banged up a little bit in the first half, and they just went on a run. I told coach let them keep the momentum and like they brought us back. We just had to execute what we knew we could do and do it. Simple as that.” Said Gudissa on the Raiders comeback “Coach likes me on the ball because I have fast hands. I did it last game so he knew I could do it this game.” Said Mitchell after the Raiders again relied on his great defense down the stretch.
Hastings holds off a scrappy St. Thomas team 59-54.
Mitchell, McGinnis, and Olson led a balanced Raiders attack with 11 points each. Gudissa scored nine points, Axel Arnold had 7 points, Deme 6 points, and Will Hubbard added four points.
“So, this is our go to be our first game against them, but we have a lot of film on them and just like any game. We’re gonna come in, watch the scouting report and execute the game plan.” Said Gudissa on the upcoming opponent, Henry Sibley.
Head Coach Chad Feikema gave a recap of the week after the game against STA. “You know I think we’ve been in a number of close games and have been fortunate to come out on the front end of those. We have experienced one of those even just as recent as is Tuesday night. Actually Tuesday’s game played out very similarly and now we were down and kind of made some plays coming back. One of the things that we continue to struggle with is finishing around the rim and we’ve got to get better at that. But in both in both games, the other night Tuesday and this one we hit a couple of threes that kind of got some guys feeling good.”
“One of the things we really tried have tried to pound home throughout the years that we just have to get better at finishing around the rim. We’ve got to do a better job of coming to stride stops and jump stops when we get close to the rim and being a little more patient. Too often we get in there and we just try to go up right away and we don’t win, you know the jumping contest if you will, and we don’t shoot a high percentage, but we did get a couple of finishes around the rim and a couple of threes that went down, and I think once we got on that little run confidence level took off. And, you know, it’s one of those things for kids you know shots go in and everything kind of changes,” added Feikema.
Another key piece for the Raiders has been the defense, Feikema explains, “I thought we defended well really throughout the night, and we’ve extended quite a bit here the last couple of weeks. And, you know, occasionally we’ll give up a bucket because of it but the energy that is created, and even filtering into our half-court defense when we’ve had to settle in, has made a big difference in how we’ve played.”
The Raiders host North St. Paul on Tuesday the second then travel to St. Anthony on Friday the fifth. New Prague comes to town on Saturday the sixth and Tuesday the ninth they head to Tartan.
Axel Arnold drives to the basket for two during the Raiders come from behind win against St. Thomas Academy on Friday night in Hastings. Photo by Derek Simon