SULLY — It was another fruitful night for the Hawks of Lynnville-Sully as they opened Class 1A tournament play with a victory over Belle Plaine. Despite coming out a bit stagnant on offense, much to the chagrin of coach Nick Harthoorn, the Hawks rallied around their defense.
Their man-to-man set smothered the Plainsmen from the sixth minute of the first quarter until the final buzzer sounded. They advance in the tournament following the 64-28 victory.
“It’s a confidence builder for our guys. That first game of the tournament can sometimes get interesting, but the guys came out tonight and really played with good focus,” Harthoorn said. “They really came ready to get after it.”
The game started out tighter than expected. The box-and-one defensive set from the Plainsmen confused the Hawks early as they committed several turnovers in the first four minutes. Harthoorn called for a timeout midway through the period, and the Hawks came out with a renewed sense of focus and energy. In the blink of an eye the score went from 5-3 Hawks to 25-9 early in the second quarter.
“Our defensive intensity really created a lot of things for us offensively,” Harthoorn said. “We got a lot of easy buckets early in transition, and that really got us going.”
The Hawks came out jittery. They were moving way too fast on offense and trying to do far too much. The aforementioned timeout seemed to settle them down as they rode their way to what ended up becoming a dominating win.
“We were just able to get our hands on enough balls defensively,” Harthoorn said. “We didn’t give them a chance to get their defense set on us a lot of the time. We were able to score in transition rather than going up against a set defense.”
The catalyst for their big run may have been an and-one conversion by senior Nathan Russell with two minutes left in the first quarter to give the Hawks a three point advantage. They proceeded to convert four quick fast-break layups due to their effort on the other end of the court. The Plainsmen, who were gaining confidence prior to those turnover, had their confidence zapped. Despite a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Belle Plaine sophomore Justin Jacobi to pull the Plainsmen within eight going into the second, the writing was already on the wall.
The Hawks allowed one poing through the first six minuted of the second quarter, giving them a 33-9 lead. That zapped any and all confidence the Plainsmen gained in the first quarter. It only got worse from then on as they Hawks rode it out to the finish, ultimately hitting the 35-point mercy rule at the 1:17 mark of the third quarter.
Regarding moving forward, Harthoorn feels the team just needs to keep improving on the things his team does well.
“We just need to continue to get sharper at what we do,” Harthoorn said. “At this point in the season, you’re not really going to get too creative with things. We just need to do what we do and get better at it.”
Lynnville-Sully 64, Belle Plaine 28
L—16 27 10 11—64
B— 8 6 8 6 —28
L—Russell 19, Cunningham 16, Van Wyk 7, Hofer 7, Van Dyke 6, B. Tretin 4, Brand 3, D. Tretin 2
B—Squiers 7, Long 6, Jacobi 5, Brown 4, Zumbach 2, Henning 2, Bohlen 2