Coyotes defeat Dragons 64-54 for berth in Section 3A Tournament
Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda will face top seeded R-T-R after defeating Adrian/Ellsworth in their third boys basketball matchup.
ADRIAN — Three-point shots were the name of the game in the Section 3A play-in boys basketball game between Adrian/Ellsworth and Heron Lake-Okabena/Fulda on Thursday. The game had a lot of physicality, with high stakes of a continued basketball season. The Coyotes surged in the second half for a 64-54 victory over the Dragons.
In their two prior matches with the Dragons this season, the Coyotes lost by scores of 74-68 in overtime and 77-66.
The game started on back-to-back A/E 3-pointers, but scores from the Coyotes quickly tied the tilt even at 6-6.
The Coyotes went on a scoring run connecting on shots ranging from layups shots under the basket to 3-pointers from way downtown. The Dragons needed a timeout after a Logan Gass 3-pointer hit nothing but net for a 17-10 Coyotes lead.
The timeout by Dragons coach Shaun Olsen yielded strong tidings for the blue and yellow who went on a 14-5 scoring run. The Dragons regained the lead 24-22 with Brock Henning’s shot from beyond the arc.
The lead however proved short-lived as the Coyotes scored eight of the next 10 points and looked to take a comfortable lead into the half.
Aiden Tweet had other plans, and after scoring off a Euro step layup found the ball in the corner off a HLO/F turnover for a 3-pointer. A second Coyotes turnover landed in Adrian senior Dawson Frodermann’s hands under the basket for an easy two points. The 7-0 scoring blitz stunned the Coyotes, and gave the Dragons a 33-30 lead at the half.
The Coyote preserved the storm, and midway through the second half regained the lead 43-42. The Coyotes would never trail from that moment on, and won the game.
“We knew it was going to be a battle, we knew it was going to be a hard fought game, and we just persevered,” said Coyotes coach Jeff Drent. “In the second half we settled in on playoff basketball, we adjusted and started to run our offense and things went a lot better.”
“It felt good to beat Adrian for once this year,” said Logan Hattendorf. “We knew if we played together as a team, and we played a good game that we would be just fine.”
Hattendorf scored 18 points for the Coyotes. The Coyotes leading scorer was Sawyer Drent with 20, and had 15 of his points come in the second half. Logan Gass scored 13 points for HL-O/F and Dillon Smith had eight.
The Dragons leading scorer was Frodermann with 14 points. Henning and Andrew Rahe scored all nine of their points on treys. Tweet and Preston Vortherms scored seven respectively.
The Coyotes were on the the hottest teams to start the basketball season with a 4-1 record after five games, including Mountain Lake Area/Comfrey by score of 67-54.
The season however dipped from there as the Coyotes finished the regular season with a 6-18 record.
Now the Coyotes are seizing the opportunity for a fresh start, and will face a daunting test in top seeded Russell-Tyler-Ruthton who command a 24-1 record.
“It is going to be a very tough game,” said Hattendorf. “We are ready for the moment, ready for the pressure.”
HL-O/F 30 64
A/E 33 54
HL-O/F (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Drent 2-4-6-20, Smith 2-1-0-8, Gass 1-5-0-13, Hakeneis 0-1-0-2, Salentiny 1-0-0-3, Hattendorf 1-5-5-18. TOTALS 7-16-11-64.
A/E (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Rahe 3-0-0-9, Vortherms 1-1-2-7, Tweet 1-2-0-7, Brake 1-0-0-3, Henning 3-0-0-9, Ndikubuntu 1-1-0-5, Frodermann 0-7-0-14. TOTALS 10-11-2-54.