Hylanders march to North Star State Hardwood Showcase title
HIBBING — They weren’t a last minute replacement, but joining the North Star State Hardwood Showcase paid off handsomely for the Columbia Heights High School boys basketball team.
The Hylanders fell behind early, then went on a 17-6 run late in the first half en route to an 80-49 victory over Hibbing in the championship game Thursday at the Lincoln Elementary School Gymnasium.
Columbia Heights coach Willie Braziel and Bluejacket coach Joel McDonald have been acquainted for quite some time, so when he was asked to be in the tournament, the answer was a resounding, “Yes.”
“I’ve known them for a long time,” Braziel said. “They were short on teams, and we needed games. We worked it out, so we could come up. It had been a little over a month or so, so it wasn’t like we planned it two weeks ago.”
Hibbing started hot as Ayden McDonald, Jacob Jensrud and Alex Chacich hit 3-pointers to take a 9-4 lead.
Jensrud would hit another three and baskets by McDonald, Zach Rusich and Dane Mammenga gave the Bluejackets an 18-13 lead.
That’s when the Hylanders took off.
Columbia Heights went on a 10-0 run to make it 25-18, then with under five minutes to play, the Hylanders went on a 17-6 run to take a commanding 42-24 lead into halftime.
Columbia used its quickness and defense to rattle off that run.
“Our quickness helps us with that,” Braziel said. “We got our hands on a lot of balls, so we exploited their turnovers into offensive points for us. We were surprised at that. They play good team basketball.
“They have great defense. It’s a hard defense to play against. People think it’s a zone, but it’s a match-up, which can cause you a lot of problems. We hit a lot of shots. We hit the open shots we were supposed to get.”
According to Braziel, his team may have shot at least 60-percent from the floor.
“You won’t lose a lot of games with that kind of average,” Braziel said.
Hibbing coach Joel McDonald liked the way his team came out and competed early in the game, but those late turnovers doomed the Bluejackets.
“We had a string of turnovers and a couple of missed shots, they got rebounds and leaked somebody out for an easy layup on the other end,” McDonald said. “That type of team is going to take it to you and do that to you if you let them.
“They will burn you all of the time. Unfortunately, we learned a hard lesson, but that’s what we need as a test to see where we’re at, and see the types of things we need to do a lot better.”
Some of those problems have come up in previous games, and this time, Hibbing got burned by them.
“When you play a team that’s as big and fast as them, it’s a lot tougher,” McDonald said. “You don’t survive the same kind of mistakes, whether it’s rotationally on defense, or turning the ball over a lot.
“They made us pay.”
Trailing by 18 at the half, McDonald knew it was going to be tough to overcome that.
“You come out of the half and hope you get some momentum and start chipping away at it,” McDonald said. “In order for you to start chipping away, you almost have to play perfectly.
“That’s a tough team to play perfectly against.”
After the break, Braziel told his team to keep on playing like the score was 0-0.
“We tried to push the ball up because with that defense, you don’t want them to set it up,” Braziel said. “Regardless if we missed or made it (shots) we were going to push the ball up the floor.”
Columbia Heights was led by Terrence Brown with 27 points. Mujahiid Burton had 19, and Andrew Scoggins finished with 13.
Hibbing was led by McDonald with 15 points. Chacich had nine and Jensrud eight.
CH 42 38 — 80
HHS 25 24 — 49
Columbia Heights: Terrence Brown 27, Mujahiid Burton 19, Jency Davis 9, Leavale Hicks 2, Donnavin Hinsz 4, Andrew Scoggins 13, Martez Wise 6.
Hibbing: Zach Rusich 6, Carson Brown 2, Finley Cary 4, Dane Mammenga 5, Alex Chacich 9, Jacob Jensrud 8, Ayden McDonald 15.
Total Fouls: Columbia Heights 7; Hibbing 5; Fouled Out: None; Free Throws: Columbia Heights 5-6; Hibbing 1-1; 3-pointers: Brown 2, Burton 2, Davis, Jensrud 2, Chacich, McDonald 2, Mammenga.
SOUTH ST. PAUL — Megan Bussey and Julia Gherardi both scored as the Bluejackets beat the Wildcats at the Kaposia Classic Thursday at Doug Woog Arena.
Boben scored at 16:47 of the first period, then Gherardi scored at 4:01 of the third period.
Eagan’s lone goal came at 16:30 of the final frame.
Hibbing/Chisholm goalie Addison Hess had 34 saves to get the victory.
“We worked hard and played gritty, taking away time and space,” Hibbing/Chisholm coach Pete Hyduke said. “We scored two rebound goals, crashing the net hard. Addison was outstanding again, keeping us in a position to win.”
On Wednesday, the Bluejackets fell 4-1 to South St. Paul
Bussey had the lone goal in that game, and Hess stopped 42 shots.
EHS 0 0 1 — 1
HC 1 0 1 — 2
First Period — 1. HC, Megan Bussey (Aune Boben, Panella Rewertz), 16:47.
Second Period — No scoring.
Third Period — 2. HC, Julia Gherardi (Claire Rewertz), 4:01; 3. E, Catherine Urick (Maria Cooper), 16:30.
Goalie Saves — Hibbing/Chisholm, Addison Hess 10-11-13— 34; Eagan, Brooke Kimel 8-6-3—17.
Penalties — Hibbing/Chisholm 1-2; Eagan 3-6.
HC 0 1 0 — 1
SSP 1 1 2 — 4
First Period — 1. SSP, Paige Johnson (Bailey Vesper, Lily Pachl), 15:11.
Second Period — 2. SSP, Pachl (Vesper, Sarah Wincentsen), 8:07; 3. HC, Megan Bussey (Abigail Sullivan), 13:57.
Third Period — 4. SSP, Ashley Jerikovsky (Pachl), 1:57; 5. SSP, Pachl (Eva Beck), 13:36.
Goalie Saves — Hibbing/Chisholm, Addison Hess 16-19-7— 42; South St. Paul, Delaney Norman 5-3-6—14.
Penalties — Hibbing/Chisholm 4-8; South St. Paul 4-8.