Keagan McVicker has not had the same kind of scoring year as she did last year, but she’s been providing more on the floor than simply scoring. She’s leading the team, directing it from the floor and even being an extension of Coach McLeod on the floor. A combination that has opened doors for others to excel and the team to play well overall.Photo by Bruce Karnick
Girls’ basketball honors teachers before Park game bounces back against Tartan

By Bruce Karnick

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The girls’ basketball team played host to Park of Cottage Grove on January 6. Before the game, each player had the opportunity to thank a teacher that made a major impact on their school career. Announcer Dick Cragg read a short story from each of the students regarding the impact the teacher had on them, then the student / teacher pair had their picture taken on the court by Becker Photography of Hastings.

Editorial note: Becker graciously donated their time to help capture this wonderful pregame event since the team’s normal photographers were unavailable.

After the teacher appreciation ceremony, teams took the court for warmups and the game started at 7:00. This was Hastings’ first official action since the December 17 game against Richfield. Hastings won that 55-51.

Park jumped on Hastings quickly and built a strong 40-18 lead by the end of the first half. Hastings could not overcome Parks Justine Jameson. Jameson scored 21 of Parks 40 in the first half.

Coming out of the break, Hastings, once again, came out flat and Wolfpack connected on the majority of their shots. Park finished with 11 three pointers to Hastings four and the Wolfpack averaged 1.12 points per possession versus the Raiders averaging .52 points per possession. Hastings connected on only 25.4% of their shots.

The final, Park 71, Hastings 30.

Individually for Hastings, Maggie Schlottman lead the way scoring nine, Lilly Nuytten was right behind her with eight. Keagan McVicker had five, Emma Bakker and Lindsay Wagner each had three and Natalie Caflisch had two. Hastings followed up the loss to Park with a trip to Tartan to take on the Titans for the first time this season.

Tartan took the early lead 9-2 when McVicker had a huge block on what could have been an easy breakaway lay up for Tartan. That seemed to energize the Raiders on both ends of the floor. For several minutes, there was a lot of back-and-forth action that included multiple shot opportunities but neither team could connect. It was a first half where it looked as though neither team wanted to take the lead even though there were a plethora of shots being taken. Hastings slowly crept back, closing the gap 11-10, then Bakker hit two free throws to finally give the Raiders the lead. The lead changed hands for a bit and Hastings took control leading 30-21 at the half.

The Raiders defense played well during the first half with lots of great movement and forcing the Titans to make uncomfortable shots. Offensively, Hastings moved the ball very well, getting it in the hands of three or four different players to find the high percentage shot was key.

The second half picked up where the Raiders left off. Good ball movement and taking better shots. Their defense was moving well too but Tartan had become slightly more accurate than in the first, not giving the Raiders a chance to rebound. Eventually, Tartan cooled off enough and Hastings jumped out to a 56-29 lead. Tartan had gone about eight minutes without scoring. At that point, the damage had been done. Hastings defense kept the Titans at bay well enough to finish the game 60-47.

This Hastings team seems to respond well to an off-balance loss. All three losses this year have been 40 points or more, yet the Raiders are 7-3-0 and 1-0-0 in the conference, which is good for second place behind 2-0 Mahtomedi. If the Raiders play their game and play to their level, they can take that number one spot from Mahtomedi with little effort. The key to losing is not making a habit of it and these girls rebound nicely, they do not let one loss snowball into tow or three. They shake it off and get back at it, a testament to the mentality of Head Coach Sheri McLeod.

Hastings will host a rematch against Tartan on Friday, February 4 at 7:00. Up next for the girls is a trip to South St. Paul on January 14, then hosting Mahtomedi on January 19. Both of those tips are at 7:00 p.m.

January 12, 2022