By Brent Huelsmann
After starting slow, and trailing at halftime, the Hornets were able to come back to get a big conference win on the road against the Carterville Lions on December 22. The Hornets bounced back after a loss to the Benton Rangers on December 19.
After trailing by four points coming out of the first quarter, the Hornets started to chip away at the Lions lead in the second quarter. The Hornets got closer, but still trailed by two going into the halftime break. Coming out of halftime, the Hornets used a big third quarter to take the lead. The Hornets used an 8-0 run early in the third quarter to pick up a big conference win. The 8-0 run was started and ended with buckets by Royce Newman. The Lions got closer at the end of the third quarter, as they trailed 36-38 with 1:45 remaing. The Hornets were able to stretch the lead back out in the fourth quarter, to stay undefeated in conference play.
Newman led the Hornets in the game with 18 points in the game. Hayden Heggemeier scored in double fiugres with 12 points followed by Ryan Brink with 11 points in the game. Brady Bultman scored eight points for Nashville, and Jaris Dalman scored two points to round out the scoring.
The Hornets then moved on to play in the 55th Annual Mater Dei Holiday Tournament, and the Hornets found themselves matched up in a thrilling showdown with the Mater Dei Knights. It took two overtimes to decide a winner on a rainy afternoon in Breese. After controlling the first half, Nashville could not hold the lead in the second half, as Mater Dei made a run to take the lead at the end of the third quarter. The game was tightly contested from the fourth quarter on, with neither team gaining an advantage of more than three points until the second overtime. The Hornets would drop the game 53-58.
After Mater Dei got off to a 4-0 run to begin the game, the Hornets took control going on a 7-0 run of their own to take a three point lead. The Hornets would extend their lead to as high as six in the first quarter, but Mater Dei was able to chip into the lead in the closing minutes. The Hornettes held a 14-10 lead going int o the second.
Coming out in the second quarter, Nashville raced out to a 12 point lead, but again could not keep Mater Dei at bay.. The Knights made another run to trim the Hornets lead to seven. The two teamas would trade baskets before halftime, and Nashville went into the break with a 27-20 lead.
Coming out of the halftime break, the Knights continued to chip away at the Hornets lead, and finally took the lead on a three-point-play by Joseph Heimann. The Hornettes would trail 35-38 going into the final quarter of play.
A three pointer by Royce Newman tied the game for the Hornets early in the fourth quarter, and the two teams would trade points all throughout the final stanza. The Hornets would not be able to take the lead, but were able to force overtime, on a free throw by Newman with 2:00 remaining in regulation.
In the first overtime the Hornets took their first lead since, the third quarter on a basket by Newman, but Mater Dei was able to make a late free throw to push the game to a second overtime. The Knights would take control in the second overtime, as the Knights went 12-14 from the free throw line in the second overtime. The Hornets were not able to come back as they fell by a score of 53-58.
After the game Coach Brad Weathers talked about the Hornets’ missed opportunities, “just too many missed free throws, in crunch time when it mattered we had a big turnover. The game was in our hands, and we controlled our own destiny, I thought, and we made a couple mistakes.”
“The effort was there, I thought we played extremely hard,” said Weathers after the hard fought double overtime game.
Leading the way for the Hornets was Newman with 20 points, followed by Bultman with 13 points. Ryan Brink chipped in nine points for Nashville, followed by Hayden Heggemeier with eight points. Brogan Kemp scored two points round out the scoring.
In their next game of the tournament, the Nashville Hornets again lost a heartbreaker as Brady Bultman missed a three pointer at the buzzer against the Metro East Lutheran Knights on Monday night. The game marked the first of three games for the Hornets in a 24 hour period at the 55th Annual Mater Dei Holiday Tournament. The loss put the Hornets record at 0-2 in pool play for the tournament.
The Hornets trailed for most of the matchup as Metro-East Lutheran took a four point lead after the first quarter. The Knights were able to extend their lead before halftime, and went into the break leading the Hornets by a score of 31-23. The Hornets came out on fire in the second half. Coach Brad Weathers went to a bigger lineup, and the Hornets were able to cut into the Knights lead. The Hornets started the half on an 8-2 run to cut the Knights lead to just two points. A few minutes later in the third quarter the Hornets would take the lead 37-36. The lead would not hold as Metro East Lutheran was able to make a run to end the third quarter. At the end of the third quarter the Hornets trailed 39-42.
That set up the final quarter. The Hornets were able to close the gap throughout the quarter, but were never able to break through to take the lead. The Hornets had one last chance after Metro East hit 1-2 free throws with .5 seconds left on the clock. With the ball, Bultman could not hit a game-tying three pointer at the buzzer.
After the game Coach Weathers talked about the loss, “anytime they got a lead, we’d have to come out on them, and they hurt us with their penetration. Their quickness hurt us on both sides of the floor.”
Coach Weathers was impressed with the play of Jaris Dalman guarding senior Teddy Fifer throughout the game. “ Fifer, really got off to a good start eventhough I thought Dalman did everything in his power to guard him, and the shots he made were not easy shots.”
Royce Newman led the Hornets with 18 points in the ball game. Newman was one of three Hornets in double figures, as Bultman scored 14 points, including two big three pointers, and Brogan Kemp scored 12 points for Nashville. Dalman scored eight points in the loss, followed by Ryan Brink with five points and Hayden Heggemeier with four points in the contest.
Leading the way for Metro East Lutheran was Fifer with 27 points in the contest. The Knights shot 25 free throws in the contest, while the Hornets shot just seven.
The Hornetts played Carlyle and Okawville on Tuesday to finish up pool play in the tournament.
After pool play ends, the matchups for Wednesday will be determined. The top seeds from each pool will play eachother. Each team will play, whichever team finsihed in the same place in the other pool.