By Mike Petersen
Sports Editor & Editor 

They came up empty

Hawk boys' fast start fades against Wolverines


February 16, 2023


Lance Berends makes it difficult for Willie Conley to get to the basket during the Hawks' loss to South O'Brien.

Fueled by a 21-point scoring advantage in the second and third quarters, South O'Brien overcame a fast start by Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn to earn a 62-53 boys' basketball win on Feb. 7 at Paullina.

After battling to a 9-9 tie, H-M-S went on a 13-2 run during the final three minutes of the first quarter to take a 22-11 lead. The Wolverines immediately flipped the momentum, outscoring the Hawks by 11 in the second quarter to force a 29-29 tie.

The teams traded leads early in the second half before South O'Brien built a 10-point advantage which they held at the end of the third quarter. The Hawks managed to get to within 57-53 with 1:30 to play, but three trips to the foul line allowed the Wolverines to wrap up the War Eagle Conference victory.

"Too many turnovers and empty possessions down the stretch really did us in," Hawk coach Naet Hoaglund observed. "I thought we got off to a great start in the first quarter. Our defense was solid and the ball was moving offensively. Defensively, we were able to get out on shooters and limit scoring opportunities."


Landen Elwood launches a shot attempt during the second half of H-M-S's game at Paullina.

While South O'Brien had seven players score at least six points, all but eight of H-M-S's points came from two players, Kooper Ebel with 26 and Lance Berends with 19. Rounding out the scoring were Keevyn Jacobsma and Lucas Kroese with a three-pointer and Travis Kamradt with two points.

An inability to get the ball inside was a concern for H-M-S.

"I thought we became too passive offensively and didn't attack their zone enough," Hoaglund noted. "A big part of our game is getting to the free throw line and we were only able to get there five times. We didn't get enough post touches and relied on too many jump shots down the stretch."

H-M-S won the battle on the boards, led by Ebel with 11 rebounds and Berends and Jacobsma with 10 each. Kamradt had five rebounds and also dished out six assists; Berends recorded five blocks; and Vollink finished with three rebounds.

The Hawks finished the regular season at 11-9 overall and 4-6 in conference play.


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