The Raider ladies moved to 12-6 overall and 6-1 in the conference on the season and are now in sole possession of second place in the Metro East Conference behind Mahtomedi, who is undefeated in the …
The Raider ladies moved to 12-6 overall and 6-1 in the conference on the season and are now in sole possession of second place in the Metro East Conference behind Mahtomedi, who is undefeated in the conference. Hastings defeated North St. Paul soundly 72-43 on a night that Junior Keagan McVicker scored her 1,000th career Varsity point. The Raiders then traveled to Hill-Murray and defeated them 53-47 to take over second place before defeating Owatonna 43-41 at home.
Heading into the game at North St. Paul, the Raiders knew what was about to happen and the plan was in place to give Junior Keagan McVicker recognition during the away game. Hastings dominated the Polars with great team play and ended the first half up 44-15.
McVicker did what she always does, dished the ball around to her teammates for the first half. She was taking her share of shots, but they were not dropping. It was clear that frustration was setting in for McVicker when head coach Rick Tavernier pulled her to the bench to calm her nerves for a few minutes.
“I didn't want to approach her before the game,” explained Tavernier. “I mean, the whole team knew. But she is really good at giving people buckets and assists. So, she could have probably taken a few more shots than she did early on, but she's a team player.”
When she returned to the floor, the shots started to fall, and she was quickly at 999 points. She hit a three-point shot with about a minute left in the first to break the 1,000-point mark.
The second half of the game featured many of the bench players and Hastings won handily, 72-43. Haley Strain led Hastings with 15 points, McVicker had 13 and Emma Bakker recorded 11. 15 Raiders scored in the game with Jillian McTague leading the scoring from the bench.
“Coming to North it’s always going to be physical,” said Tavernier. “The backdrop of the game is obviously Keagan McVicker, she was 10 points away from 1,000. She started off slow, but she eventually hit that milestone. I think the pressure was off everybody a little bit, and then we just played team basketball. We took care of business and that was the message before the game, just play our game.”
With Hill-Murray on the horizon, Coach Tavernier spoke on that matchup.
“That is one that we have circled on the calendar. We have to stop a couple of their players so we can slow them down and then we have a chance. So, at this point in the season, practice is all about refining, right? Fixing little things here and there. We work on some matchup stuff depending on who the opponent is,” he explained.
Against Hill-Murray, Hastings did a great job keeping the Pioneer’s offense off balance all night long. The Raiders took a one-point lead into the intermission, 28-27. The second half favored the Raiders on the scoreboard, outscoring the Pioneers 25-20 to win 53-47.
Strain led the Raiders with 24 points and 10 rebounds with McVicker scoring 11. Six other Raiders scored at least one point to give Hastings the win.
The closest game of the week was against Owatonna. The Huskies had the lead 16-15 heading into halftime, but Hastings rebounded well in the second half to win 43-41. Strain once again led in points (16) and rebounds (12). Bakker was right behind Strain with 10 rebounds and McTague had the second most points with seven.
Hastings has one game this week, at Minneapolis Washburn on Feb. 2 at 7:00 p.m. Then they travel to Mahtomedi, potentially for the conference title on the line. That game is scheduled for Feb. 6, also at 7:00 p.m. Hastings has five more games left after the Mahtomedi game, with each one being against a conference opponent.