The Hastings Raiders girls' basketball team has gotten off to a rough start to the season as they continue to adjust to new head coach Joe Lynch and battle some relative inexperience with several young players filling important roles. After losing two games in a tournament at Red Wing last week, the Raiders went 0-3 against Burnsville, Rosemount and East Ridge this week as part of a stretch of four-straight non-conference road games.
Hastings lost to the Blaze 76-67 despite a school-record performance from junior Mallory Brake who scored 40 points (setting a new girls' scoring record) after putting up 39 the previous game against River Falls. Hastings then went to Rosemount where they never were able to get going and lost 66-30. Saturday the Raiders traveled to East Ridge where they led at halftime but ended up losing 60-56, falling to 0-5.
Against Burnsville the Raiders trailed by just five at halftime, 39-34, but the Blaze were able to extend that lead to win by nine. On top of Brake's 40 points, six other players scored for Hastings, led by eighth-grader Ashley Fritz who had nine points. Sophomore Shea Levos and senior Megan Mattson both added five points, freshmen Lilly Nuytten and Maggie Schlottman each had three points and sophomore Hannah Schultz contributed two points.
Thursday's game at Rosemount turned into a house of horrors for the Raider girls as they ran into a still-young but much improved Irish team. Last year Hastings blew out the Irish in Hastings at the start of the season and the favor was returned as Rosemount outscored the Raiders 15-0 to start the game. The first half saw too many turnovers and blocked shots for Hastings which resulted in too many second chances for the Irish. Rosemount led 47-14 at halftime and the second half saw running time and an emptying of the benches earlier than usual, though the Raiders played the Irish much more even.
One bright spot was the performance of Megan Mattson, who generated much of her team's early offense to get on the board and led the team with 11 points from getting to the basket, 3-point range and from the free-throw line. The final was 66-30 and Mattson was the only Raider in double-figures. Brake had seven points, Levos five, Fritz three and both Nuytten and senior Megan Tietjen had two points.
Hastings was able to bounce back on Saturday when they went to East Ridge on Saturday to take on the Raptors. The Raiders led 33-28 at halftime but were outscored 32-23 in the second half to fall 60-56. However, it was a much more balanced effort for Hastings as they had three players in double-figures and seven different players scored. They were led by Brake with 14 points, Fritz had 12 and Nuytten 10. Tietjen added nine points, Mattson seven and both Levos and junior Emily Biscoe had two.
Hastings finished its road stretch on Tuesday at Eagan and the Raiders have their home opener on Thursday, Dec. 6, against Minneapolis South.