By Brent Huelsmann
After getting the season underway with wins over Father McGivney and Columbia, the Nashville Hornets rattled off two more wins to take the championship of the Lebanon/Wesclin Thanksgiving Tournament. The Hornets defeated Lebanon on November 29, before defeating Wesclin for the tournament championship on December 3. The Hornets are 4-0 on the season. The Hornets begin the conference schedule on Friday, December 9 against Anna-Jonesboro on the road, before their first home game of the season on December 10 against Waterloo-Gibault.
After wins over Father McGivney and Columbia, the Hornets continued their tournament slate with a blowout. The Hornets got a huge first half, and cruised in the second to beat Lebanon 65-33.
The Hornets got a big lead early as, they jumped out to a 20-4 lead after the first quarter. The Hornets were led in the first by Brandon Schnitker and Cameron Parker, who each had five points in the first. In the second quarter, the Hornets continued the onslaught and took a 36-10 lead into half. In the second half, the Hornets were able to get everyone involved and cruised to victory.
After the game, Nashville coach Brad Weathers talked about the game. "We got the opportunity to play everyone, quite a bit tonight. We got to see some different combinations, for the most part I think we played well on both ends of the court. I would have liked, maybe have fewer turnovers, a little more in-sync at the beginning of the game on defense, but we recovered from that, we covered up for each other, and I thought we shared the ball well too."
The Hornets were led in the game by both Brogan Kemp and Langdon Briles, who each finished with 16 points in the win. Ryan Brink finished with 10 points followed by Cameron Parker with eight points. Schinitker finished with five points, all of which came in the first quarter, while Bryce Bultman finished with four points. Hayden Heggemeier had three points and Carson Parker had two points. Dale Anderson rounded out the scoring for Nashville with one point.
The Hornets final matchup of the tournament was against Wesclin on their home court for the tournament championship. A close game throughout, the Hornets were able to pull away late for a 61-52 victory.
The Hornets jumped out early with an 11-4 run to start the game, with Kemp scoring seven points for Nashville. Wesclin stormed back cutting the Nashville advantage to just two points, behind two three pointers from Hunter Ottensmeier, going into the second quarter. The Warriors would tie the game early in the second, and the two teams would go back and forth throughout the frame. Wesclin took a late lead, but Kemp came back to score and gave Nashville a 30-29 advantage at halftime. As the teams came out of the locker room, Wesclin kept the game close, but could never grab the lead. As time wound down in the quarter, the Hornets would get two three pointers from Brink, and one from Bultman to give the Hornets an eight point lead going into the final quarter.
In the fourth, Wesclin would get as close as 51-47, but again the Hornets were able to pull away with clutch baskets from Kemp, and clutch free throws from Bultman and Heggemeier to hold on for the 61-52 win.
Coach Weathers talked about the win after the game. "They don't have a true post player, but they have a bunch of forwards and guards that can put it on the floor. It makes for tough a tough matchup for us."
Kemp led Nashville with 23 points and eight rebounds in the win. Brink added 13 points, followed by Bultman with 12 points. Heggemeier scored six points, while Briles scored four points. Schnitker rounded out the scoring with three points.
Weathers went on to talk about the tournament in general beating both Columbia and Wesclin. "Those were two good wins for us. Games that we could have played decent and not come out on top." Weathers went on to talk about the confidence the tournament championship gives them. "I'd like to think, that it definitely gives us more confidence about playing good people, and being able to take care of business and overcoming some adversity."
Both Ryan Brink and Brogan Kemp were named to the All-Tournament Team.