By Brent Huelsmann
After easily defeating Lebanon in their first game of the Lebanon/Wesclin Thanksgiving Tournament, the Hornets turned their attention to there next two games against Wesclin and Columbia. The Hornets have had success in the tournament before, finishing in the top three in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
The Hornets matched up against Wesclin in their next game of the tournament on December 1. The Hornets started out on fire, jumping out to an 11-0 lead on their way to a 18-2 first quarter. The game was never in doubt as Wesclin missed their first 15 three point shots. The Hornets led 28-8 at halftime, and the lead swelled to 28 points at the end of the third quarter. The Hornets cruised to a 63-28 victory.
The Hornets defense gave the Warriors trouble all throughout the game as the Hornets held Wesclin to 2-22 from behind the arc. The Warriors shot 21% overall for the game.
The Hornets were led by Brady Bultman with 15 points in the game. Royce Newman added 13 points in the game for the Hornets. Brogan Kemp joined Bultman and Newman in double figures with 10 points in the game. Hayden Heggemeier and Ryan Brink each scored six points in the contest. Jake Haley scored four points while Ryan Kell scored three points in the game. Jaris Dalman and Riley Edwards each scored two points to round out the scoring.
That set up a rematch of last years double overtime championship game as the Hornets would face off against the Columbia Eagles on December 5. The Eagles started the game on fire from behind the arc, as they made their first eight three point shots. The The Hornets led 4-3 early, but never got the lead back in the game. Columbia closed the first quarter on a 10-2 run.
Hornets trailed by nine points after the first quarter and trailed by 16 at halftime. The Hornets came back in the third quarter and were close to getting the game back into single digits, but the Eagles were able to hold a 13 point lead going into the final stanza. The Eagles put the game away in the fourth quarter for their second straight championship at the Lebanon/Wesclin Thanksgiving Tournament.
Columbia had four players in double figures led by the Holmes brothers.Jonathan Holmes led the Eagles with 20 points, 16 of which were scored in the first half. Jordan Holmes had 14 points, 10 of which were in the first half.
The Hornets were led by Bultman with 14 points in the loss. Jaris Dalman added 11 points in the game for the Hornets. Brink scored seven points while Newman and Heggemeier scored six points apiece. Riley Edwards chipped in four points and Brogan Kemp scored three points in the game.
“I’m very proud of the effort, I thought we played very hard, our perimeter guys were really guarding hard, they’ve got some really nice guards. But we’re gonna get better and this was a nice game for us.” said coach Brad Weathers after the game.
Coach Weathers talked about how the team could not simulate Columbia’s pressure defense in practice, and how the team will learn from it moving forward. “ We’ve got to be able to everytime, when you enter your offense you’ve got to be to get yourself open or look for the counter on that play, and there was times tonight we just flat, eventhough we worked on it we just didn’t get it done.”
The Hornets record stands at 2-1 on the season. The Hornets next matchup is on Friday night as they begin conference play against Anna-Jonesboro at 7:45 p.m. The game is the Hornets home-opener.
The Hornets then will be back on the court Saturday night against Waterloo-Gibault at 6:45 p.m.