The Hastings girls basketball team is, it’s safe to say, in the driver’s seat right now. The destination? To repeat as the Metro East Conference champions.

Last year, the Raiders earned a share of the league crown.

This year, they’re determined to win it outright, and so far that determination is paying off.

With a 63-50 win over Simley on Friday, Hastings improved to a perfect 8-0 in MEC play. The Raiders now hold a three-game lead over Simley (5-3) and Hill-Murray (5-3).

Hastings is 14-4 overall and is riding a 10-game winning streak.

“We feel good about where we’re at,” coach Padrick Judd said. “We know we have to keep going one game at a time and take care of business, but we’re feeling good. Winning is contagious. The girls want to see how long we can keep this going.”

The last time Hastings and Simley played, the Raiders edged the Spartans, 51-50. This time around, the game figured to be close again, especially after teams played to a 25-25 halftime tie.

Cold shooting plagued Hastings in that first half.

“We didn’t shoot very well in the first half,” Judd said, estimating Hastings made about 20 percent of its field goal attempts.

The second half, though, was dominated by Hastings. The Raiders outscored the Spartans 38-25.

“In the second half, we came out and really did a good job of imposing our will inside, and having good shot selection,” he said. “Our defense stepped up, too. When teams start trying to play us tight, we’ve been able to step it up defensively. This was a fantastic victory for us.”

Hastings got a big night from sophomore Krystal Carlson, who finished with 27 points and 12 rebounds.

Mallory Brake, an eighth-grader, had 14 points, including 12 from the free-throw line (in 18 attempts).

“They were huge free throws for us in the first half,” Judd said. “They kept us in the game. She does a very good job of creating contact and getting to the free throw line.”

Also in double figures was senior guard Sam Schorzman, who finished with 17 points.

Also scoring were: Tori Brake, two; and Haylee Yaeger, three.

Vs Columbia Heights

Hastings won handily over Columbia Heights on Monday, 75-58.

Hastings jumped out to a big 33-17 halftime lead and then outscored the opposition 42-41 in the second half.

The story of the night for Hastings was the play by Mallory Brake, who finished with a triple-double. She had 17 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds.

“It’s one thing when a senior does it – that’s a big thing,” Judd said. “You don’t hear about an eighth-grader getting that very often. That’s quite an accomplishment for any player, let alone an eighth-grader. We’re very proud of how she played.”

Brake has been consistently averaging double figures in points and near that in rebounds, but the assist total came as a big surprise.

“It felt like every time she made a pass, the ball was going in,” Judd said.

Carlson had a big night, too. She had 24 points and 14 rebounds.

Sam Schorzman had her best game of the year with 20 points, which came on a perfect shooting night. She made all eight of her field goal attempts, including all four of her attempts from three-point range.

Also scoring were: Megan Mattson, four; Tori Brake, three; Katie Notch, one; Yaeger, four; and Kenzie Cadwell, two.