The Hastings Raiders boys' basketball team started the season off 2-1 and with wins over Red Wing and Park, but since then they have lost five in a row, most of which were non-conference match-ups. They were edged out by Eagan 72-68, lost to Eastview 78-68 and fell to Rosemount 82-63 Dec. 21, all on the road. Hastings then came home to host their annual holiday tournament but lost in the first round to Irondale 83-65 on Thursday, Dec. 27. The Raiders are 2-6 overall and head into the heart of Metro East Conference play after the New Year.
Both teams got off to a slow start offensively when Hastings traveled to Rosemount but the Raiders led 10-9 midway through the first half. However, from there the Irish were able to take the lead 13-10 and then 22-16 with a couple minutes left in the first half as they took advantage of the Raiders inside. Rosemount led 34-26 at halftime on the back of some key offensive rebounds and effective post play.
Hastings made a brief comeback to start the second half as senior Sully Levos was able to get to the rim a couple times and fellow seniors Isaac Rabaey and Matt Schlottman got going. However, at the same time Rosemount found their groove offensively as well and slowly extended their lead to double digits. Overall the second half was sloppy with plenty of turnovers and both teams in the double-bonus early on. The final was 82-63.
Rabaey led the Raiders with 17 points, 11 of which came in the second half while Schlottman added 14 including three 3-pointers. Levos had 10 points and a total of 10 Hastings players scored as reserves for both sides got a decent amount of playing time.
Hastings faced Irondale in the opening round of their annual holiday basketball tournament, which consisted of the Raiders, Irondale, Prescott (Wis.) and Stillwater.
The Raiders trailed Irondale pretty much the whole game Thursday evening, making a couple comeback attempts but never quite able to close the gap. They trailed 15-8 early on in the first half and then 25-19 later on. When it looked like Irondale might blow open the game, Schlottman got hot toward the end of the half, especially from 3-point range, and they trailed just 38-31 at halftime.
A slow start to the second-half by the Raiders put them behind by 13 and Irondale then extended that lead to 20 points. From there, Hastings was never able to cut the deficit to single digits and Irondale won 83-65. Schlottman led the way with 28 points (six 3s) as he stayed just as hot in the second half as the first. Rabaey added 11 points, most of them off free-throws, while Levos had seven and junior Colby Zak five.
After the game, Rabaey said it was the little things they needed to correct.
"We have a lot of little things, little mental things we need to take care of, whether it be preparing for a game or getting on the floor, the hustle plays," he said. "It's a lot of the little things that you can't put your thinger on and say 'ok we need to fix this one thing'. We've just got to come together and get everybody to step up in their role a little bit."
Hastings then faced Prescott in the third-place game and lost 69-45. The Cardinals led the Raiders 31-23 at halftime and extended that lead in the second half. Only one Raider finished in double-figures-Rabaey led with 22 points-while Levos had six and Schlottman five.
Hastings next plays on Thursday, Jan. 3, at home against the Simley Spartans.