The Hinckley-Finlayson boy’s basketball team started the section 5A playoffs last week. The Jags were seeded six out of 12 teams in the east sub-section, and were matched up against the Isle Huskies in the first round.
On Monday, March 15 the Jaguars hosted Isle for a six vs 11 matchup. Although Isle didn’t have a lot of wins on the season, they were a dangerous team with height, athleticism and good 3-point shooters. The Jaguars knew they would have to play some good basketball to get past the first round. The game was close throughout with H-F and Isle exchanging the lead several times. The Huskies came ready to play - and some hot 3-point shooting (they made 12 in the game) kept them in the game right to the final buzzer.
At halftime it was knotted up 27-27. Isle grabbed the momentum and jumped out to a lead early in the second half, but the Jaguars didn’t panic. H-F picked up the intensity and pressure on defense, which led to some steals and easy baskets in transition. When the 3-point shots weren’t falling, Isle struggled to score against the Jaguars defense. Eventually the Jaguars grabbed the lead and held the Huskies late in the game. After some clutch free throws by Aaron Mulder, the Jags won 51-47, and advanced to the second round of the tournament.
H-F then traveled to Braham to take on the third seeded Bombers on Thursday, March 18. H-F. Braham had two very tightly contested games earlier this season: in the first matchup Braham won in overtime, and in the second matchup Braham beat the Jags by single digits late in the second half. So, this was sure to be a close game that could go either way. The first half was back and forth with neither team able to pull away. It seemed like Braham would go into halftime with the lead, but Levi Degerstrom hit a three quarter court shot at the buzzer to tie the score and give the Jags the momentum going into the second half.
The second half was much like the first: two evenly matched teams going back and forth. The Jags were able to pull ahead by six points late in the half, but the Bombers didn’t give up. Braham kept chipping away at the lead. With just seconds remaining in regulation H-F had a two point lead, but Braham had the ball. The Bombers point guard was able to elevate into a jump shot over two Jaguar defenders and tied it up. The Jags got up a last second shot, but, unfortunately, it didn’t fall. For a second time this year, this matchup was decided in overtime. The overtime period was all Bombers. Braham knocked down their shots, and the Jaguars struggled to put the ball in the hoop. H-F was forced to foul the Bombers in hopes of missed free throws and a chance to make a comeback, but the Bombers were deadly from the free throw line. The final score: Braham 74 - Jaguars 62.
The Jaguars have now finished their season with an overall record of 8-11. Members of this years team: Seniors - Lathaniel Kroschel, Aaron Mulder, Isaac Puetz, and Jayden Wilson; Juniors - Jacob Grice, Lucas Kreft, Ashton Hosler, and Jon Buchanan; Sophomores - Levi Degerstrom, and Jordan Masterson; Freshmen - Trey Visser and Cyliss LaFave.
Statistical Leaders vs Isle:
Cyliss LaFave 14; Lathaniel Kroschel 10; Levi Degerstrom 9
Kroschel 10; LaFave & Degerstrom 6
Degerstrom 5; Lucas Kreft 3; Kroschel & LaFave 2
Kroschel & Degerstrom 3; LaFave, Trey Visser & Aaron Mulder 1
Statistical Leaders vs Braham:
Ashton Hosler 19; Cyliss LaFave 16; Lathaniel Kroschel 13
Kroschel 10; LaFave & Hosler 5; Trey Visser & Jordan Masterson 4
LaFave & Hosler 2; Degerstrom, Kreft, Visser & Mulder 1
Kroschel & LaFave 3; Masterson 1