Blackhawks split with Royals on Hinton’s senior night

Thursday, February 8, 2018
(Sentinel Photo By Allen Hamil) Above, MMCRU’s Aliyah Jackson drives down the left side of the lane against Hinton’s Aspen Coffee. Jackson ended with 18 points for the Royals as she hit five 3-pointers.

HINTON — The Blackhawks sent their seniors out with a split in their final home games on Friday night (February 2) as the girls lost 46-32 to visiting MMCRU while the boys picked up their largest win of the season in a 78-48 triumph over the Royals.

The MMCRU girls slowly but steadily extended their lead each quarter and used a stepped up defensive gameplan to execute it according to MMCRU Head Coach Gillian Letsche.

“It’s usually the same thing over and over, but we’ve adjusted so well that we’re getting those steals, getting hands in there, watching the offense,” Letsche said. “We knew defensively, we scouted really well. I told them what was going to happen and it all happened out here and it worked out for us.”

Along with forcing turnovers to create points in transition, it didn’t hurt that the team was able to connect on eight 3-pointers in the game. Five of those came from Aliyah Jackson who ended with a game-best 18 points.

“Today I was feeling it I guess,” Jackson said. “We’ve had some good, hard practices these last few days, so I think that really helped prepare me for tonight. We’ve been working on our defense a lot and we’ve always been a defensive team, so I think it came naturally tonight. We worked really well hitting open spots and finding each other on the floor.”

Letsche said Jackson did a good job hitting her shots.

“One of them was a fast-break three that I was like, you better go in otherwise I’m going to be mad,” Letsche said. “She’s always done that though, well instead of a two, I’m just going to take this three right here, which is fine because she’s been good with it.”

Hinton didn’t find much from the outside with 6-foot post player Bryce Klein stepping out to hit both of the team’s threes in the game. She ended with a team-best 17 points, accounting for over half of the team’s total.

“The last two weeks that’s two games she’s had 18 against Harris-Lake Park and 17 tonight,” Hinton Head Coach Matt Leary said. “We just need a little more balance to go along with her.”

Klein is one of four seniors on the team, along with Laura Brighton, Hallie Reuter and El’Lee Kroll who Leary says will be missed.

“They’ve just always been great kids, great character,” Leary said. “Just great leadership. They’re all multisport athletes which is what you want at a small school. They’re going to be missed, but hopefully we can extend it a couple of games into the postseason. I’m not ready for it to end.”

The Hinton boys jumped out to a 21-4 lead at the end of the first quarter as they scored their most points in a game this season en route to a 30 point margin of victory.

“The past couple days in practice we’ve been focusing more on defense and less on offense and trying to turn that tide a little bit more,” Hinton Head Coach John Spies said. “We added more guys into the rotation which helps our energy throughout the game and keeps guys fresh. We can give different looks with those guys and that helped us out.”

Five players ended in double digits for the team with Danny Riley leading the team with 13. Riley had three triples along with as many steals.

Turner Schmitt added 12 points on a perfect all-around shooting night, going 5-of-5 from the floor and 2-for-2 at the charity stripe.

Aiden Brock, Keanen Wieseler and Braden Vonk each chipped in 10 points.

Tate Linton added nine points while Jacob Kirwan had seven points and a team-best 10 rebounds.

Chris Schmid led the Royals with 15 points as all but three came after halftime. He and Zach Bonnstetter, who finished with 10 points, both had three treys in the game.

Andrew Prescott ended with eight points while Hunter Tentinger put in six.

“We just didn’t have good energy,” MMCRU Head Coach Toby Young said. “Offensively, we couldn’t knock down easy shots and defensively we had a lot of breakdowns. When those things happen on both sides of the floor, it’s not a good recipe.”

MMCRU travels to Harris-Lake Park on Tuesday, February 6.