Vikings go bird hunting: beat the Cardinals and the Falcons
After losing 40-65 to Blooming Prairie, the Hayfield boys’ basketball team seemed to take their anger out on Bethlehem Academy as they won 85-56 on Friday, Dec. 27.
Based on the score, it looks like the Vikings dominated the game, but Head Coach Chris Pack wasn’t happy with how his team played in the first half.
“We trailed 35-34 [at halftime] and were outhustled in the first half, giving up second-chance points and FBA seemed to get every loose ball,” he said.
During halftime, he encouraged his team to, “Play harder and play better half-court defense,” in the second half.
Hayfield seemed to be listening as he said they played much better in the second half.
“Our defense was vastly improved and we continued to score at a high rate,” he said.
One reason the Vikings’ offense was successful is they had a balanced offense with four players reaching double-digit point totals, led by Ethan Slaathaug who scored 24 points.
“Ethan can score in a variety of ways and is really good at getting to the lane and creating scoring opportunities for himself,” Pack said.
Also reaching double-digits for Hayfield was Patrick Towey who recorded 18 points and seven rebounds, Easton Fritcher with 14 points and 11 rebounds, and Luke Dudycha with 14 points and six rebounds.
Those four helped the Vikings score 30 more points than the Cardinals in the second half to cruise to an 85-56 win.
Hayfield didn’t get much time to celebrate that win as they were back at it less than 24 hours later against Wabasha-Kellogg.
Pack said the Vikings got off to a better start this game due to playing strong defense.
“We played really good half-court man-to-man defense. They were cold from the outside, but we didn't give them many open shots,” he said.
However, he said Wabasha-Kellogg also played good defense in the first half.
“They played really good help defense and when we drove, they helped in the lane and made us make outside shots, which we weren't able to do.
After the defensive-oriented first half, Hayfield held a 21-18 lead at halftime.
During the intermission, Pack said his team needed to, “Play better offensively and continue to hold WK to one shot on the defensive end,” to maintain their lead in the second half.
The Vikings were able to accomplish both of those goals in the second half.
“We were able to get some easier shots in the paint and we capitalized on them,” he said. “We continued to play solid defensively and we rebounded well (outrebounded them 38-32 and only gave up six offensive boards).”
Part of the reason Hayfield outrebounded W-K was because of the work of Luke Dudycha and Easton Fritcher on the glass.
“Luke is 6'7" and has a nice touch as well - he is usually the tallest player on the floor and has an advantage inside,” he said. “Easton is just tenacious. He is so athletic and quick and just wants the ball more than everyone on the floor. He gets really good position as well.”
In addition to rebounding, Hayfield also had success with their defensive pressure generating 11 steals.
“We did a good job pressuring the ball and not giving them easy passes,” explained Pack.
However, not everything is going great for the Vikings.
“We need to shoot better from the 3-point line. We have been struggling as of late,” he said.
Hayfield’s next two chances to shoot better are on the road as they travel to United South Central on Friday, Jan. 10, and head to Kingsland on Saturday, Jan. 11.
The Vikings’ next home game is next Thursday, Jan. 16, when they host Maple River at 7:15 p.m.