Right out of the gates
Hawks score first 20 points to dominate A-A in district opener
February 23, 2023
The start of the first-round game in the Class 1A boys' district basketball tournament could not have gone much better for Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn. The Hawks scored the first 20 points of the game with Alta-Aurelia and after weathering a second-quarter comeback, pulled away for a 74-47 win on Feb. 13 in Hartley.
The 20-point run included nine points by Kooper Ebel, a three-point play and another basket by Lance Berends and three-pointers by Keevyn Jacobsma and Trenton Vollink.
Acknowledging that H-M-S "got off to a really fast start right out of the gates," Hawk coach Naet Hoaglund said that defense was just as important as offense.
"I thought our defense in the first quarter was exceptional. We competed really hard and contested everything," he noted. "I thought Kooper fueled us defensively. He was able to apply some pressure and get some steals that led to runouts on the other end."
Still trailing by 20 when the second quarter began, Alta-Aurelia cut the deficit to 36-26 with 90 seconds to play. The Hawks responded with a three-pointer and a late put-back by Jacobsma and two baskets by Ebel to push the lead to 45-26.
"That was huge for our momentum going into half time," Hoaglund said. "We go from only being up 10 to being up 19 in what seemed like a blink of an eye, and that was really important for us."
The Hawks extended the lead to 60-36 at the end of the third quarter, and the margin reached 30 points late in the game.
H-M-S was led in scoring by Ebel with 22 points, Jacobsma with 20 and Berends with 13. Other scorers were Lucas Kroese with six points, Travis Kamradt with five, Vollink with four, and Ethan Diehm and Isaac Schierholz with two points each.
"I was really happy with how we moved and shared the basketball. We were able to get multiple guys involved in the scoring column which makes us so much harder to defend," Hoaglund noted.
H-M-S (12-9) also had a balanced effort on the glass as Berends grabbed nine rebounds, Ebel and Jacobsma each had eight, Kamradt had four and Vollink had three. Ebel also contributed eight steals and two assists; Vollink dished out seven assists; Jacobsma had three assists and Landen Elwood added two.
Alta-Aurelia (8-14) was led by Braden Sonksen with 14 points and Jack Bloom with 13.