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BOYS BASKETBALL: Wolves rally, rout Tigers

Harris-Lake Park's Tanner Hiveley attempts to catch the ball as Trinity Christian's Nathan Westra defends during a non-conference basketball game Monday at Lake Park, Iowa. Jeff Arenz/Daily Globe1 / 2
Harris-Lake Park's Eli Ihnen eyes the basket while being guarded by a Trinity Christian defender during a non-conference basketball game Monday in Lake Park, Iowa. Ihnen led all scorers with 28 points. Jeff Arenz/Daily Globe2 / 2

LAKE PARK, Iowa -- After being outscored by a 20-10 margin in the second quarter Monday night, Harris-Lake Park's boys basketball team responded with five 3-pointers in a sizzling 27-point third quarter and claimed a 74-54 victory over Trinity Christian in a dominating second-half performance.

H-LP scored on eight consecutive possessions in the third quarter and turned a 36-31 halftime deficit into a 58-48 advantage as the contest entered its final 8 minutes.

The Wolves continued to execute well in the fourth quarter and extended their leads to 62-48, 65-50 and 74-52 before settling for the final 20-point victory margin.

"We had an excellent all-around effort in the second half," summed up H-LP head coach Jeff Sohn. "We didn't play the best defense in the second quarter and we had several costly turnovers, but we did a great job after halftime with both effort and execution."

The Wolves, who won their seventh consecutive game and improve to a sparkling 14-1 for the season, moved the ball sharply after intermission and all five H-LP starters connected on a 3-pointer in the second half.

Trinity Christian, which is one of three high schools based in Hull (Iowa), played well in the first half -- especially in the second quarter when the Tigers (9-7) opened with a 9-0 run and changed a 21-16 deficit into a 25-21 lead with 6 minutes and 28 seconds remaining in the first half.

At that point, the TC trio of Brad Gritters (eight), Greg Gritters (seven) and Derk Burgers (six) had combined for 21 of the Tigers' points.

The rest of the second quarter was pretty much the Brad Gritters show as the 6-3 senior guard scored seven more points and dished a sharp assist pass to Adam De Boer for an easy basket, helping the Tigers earn a trio of seven-point leads (31-24, 33-26 and 36-29) before H-LP's high-scoring senior forward Eli Ihnen scored the final basket of the half with 37 seconds remaining.

Brad Gritters finished the first half with 15 points, scoring in a variety of ways, including drilling a pair of 3-pointers.

Ihnen, who is averaging over 20 points per game, scored 17 points -- 10 in the first quarter -- to lead the Wolves, while Tanner Hiveley (nine) and Kade Heikens (five, all in the first quarter) combined for H-LP's other 14 points.

Wolves take command with Ihnen, Brons, who each score 11 in third

It didn't take long for Sohn's team to spread the scoring out in the third quarter.

Hiveley, a hard-working 6-2 senior post, scored on his third offensive-rebound putback of the game to slice TC's lead to three.

After a defensive stop, Heikens dribbled quickly down the court and rifled a long pass to a wide-open Brady Van Iperen in the right corner. The 5-10 sophomore's high-arching 3-pointer swished through the net and knotted the score at 36-all.

Heikens -- who played a stellar all-around game with 10 points, nine assists, four steals and only one turnover -- pumped his fist at Van Iperen in excitement, as the play seemed to energize the Wolves.

"Kade had a very good game," praised Sohn. "Handling the ball as much he does and only turning it over once is remarkable. A 9-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio is quite a job for a point guard."

Ihnen followed with a drive, giving the Wolves their first lead since early in the second quarter.

Brad Gritters quickly tied the score at 38, but the next time down the court, H-LP took the lead for keeps.

The ball moved quickly from Ihnen to Van Iperen to Colin Brons, who stroked a 3-pointer (his first points of the game) from the right wing and the Wolves had a 41-38 edge.

Following another defensive stop, Heikens delivered the ball to Brons -- at the same spot -- and result was identical, giving the hosts a 44-38 lead with 5:26 remaining in the third quarter.

Two baskets by Ihnen (one off an assist from Heikens) offset a pair of hoops by the Tigers and with 3:56 on the clock, HL-P's lead was still six, 48-42.

After scoring just 10 points in the second quarter, the Wolves had poured in 17 during the first 4:04 of the third.

"The kids were battling hard and doing a great job of making the extra pass for a good shot," declared Sohn. "We did a lot of things right in the third quarter and played pretty well all the way to the end."

A pair of free throws by TC's Nathan Westra sliced the lead to four, but Brons connected from nearly the same spot again and the lead was seven.

The next time down, Ihnen knocked down H-LP's fifth trey of the quarter and then took a defensive rebound for a coast-to-coast layup, increasing the Wolves' lead to 12 (56-44) as the TC's head coach Kevin Van Engen took his third timeout of the quarter.

Brons scored on a putback to finish the quarter, as both he and Ihnen netted 11 points in the quarter.

"Both Colin and Eli hit some big shots for us in that third quarter," noted Sohn. "Then Tanner and Kade combined to score our first 10 points in the fourth quarter."

A hard drive by Heikens, a putback by Hiveley, a left-wing 3-pointer by Hiveley and a left-wing 3-pointer by Heikens staked the Wolves to a 68-52 advantage with five minutes left.

After a steal by Hiveley (18 points, 10 rebounds - six offensive, three steals), Brons scored on a sweet drive down the lane and Hiveley scored off another assist from Heikens.

A nifty shot block by H-LP freshman Dahlton Burdorf highlighted the game's closing two minutes as the Wolves cleared their bench and cruised to the victory.

Ihnen finished with a game-high 28 points, leading four H-LP double-figure scorers.

Brons (three assists, three steals) scored all 13 of his points in the second half.

Brad Gritters finished with 23 to lead the Tigers, but netted just eight in the second half.

The Wolves, who shot 42 percent for the game (11-of-26) from behind the arc and 46 percent (29-of-63) on all field goal attempts, host North Union Friday.


TRINITY CHRISTIAN (9-7): G.Gritters 4 0-0 9, B.Gritters 9 3-4 23, Zandstra 1 0-0 2, Hoksbergen 1 0-0 2, De Boer 1 0-0 2, Westra 2 2-2 6, Burgers 4 2-3 10. Totals 22 7-9 54

HARRIS LAKE PARK (14-1): Brons 5 0-0 13, Van Iperen 2 0-0 5, Heikens 4 0-0 10, Ihnen 11 2-3 28, Hiveley 7 3-4 18. Totals 29 5-7 74.

TC 16 20 12 6 - 54

H-LP 21 10 27 16 - 74

3-Point Goals: TC 3 (B. Gritters 2, G.Gritters) H-LP 11 (Ihnen 4, Brons 3, Heikens 2, Van Iperen, Hiveley).