Brandon Schnitker puts up a tough shot during the Hornets 44-29 win over the Carterville Lions on December 20.
The Nashville Hornets boys basketball team got a big night from senior Jake Haley as Nashville stayed undefeated in conference play with a 44-29 win over Carterville on the road. The Hornets now move into the Mater Dei Christmas Tournament. The Hornets are the #5 seed in the tournament. Nashville is in Pool B along with Briarcrest Christian, Sacred Heart Griffin, Mater Dei, and Metro East Lutheran. The Hornets begin play in the tournament against Briarcrest Christian on December 27 at 4 p.m. Briarcrest Christian is the top overall seed in the tournament.
The Hornets last matchup before the tournament was on the road in Carterville where they looked to preserve their undefeated conference record against the Lions. Nashville quickly fell behind 4-0 to the Lions, but would battle back. The Hornets took their first lead of the game at 7-6 on a shot by Carson Parker, and would lead 10-8 after the first quarter. Haley would make two three in the first to lead the Hornets.
In the second, the Hornets defense clamped down as they held Carterville to just three points. Nashville would score six points in the frame to take a 16-11 lead into halftime.
After half, the Hornets would extend their lead to as high as 13, but a late three by Carterville would cut the Nashville lead to just nine points with one quarter to play.
In the fourth, the Hornets would start the quarter on a 11-3 run to take a 41-24 lead and put the game out of reach for the Lions. The Hornets would go on to defeat Carterville 44-29.
Haley led the Hornets with 16 points and was 4-5 from behind the arc. After the game Hornets coach Wayne Harre talked about Haley’s performance. “I thought it was the best game of the year for Jake. He guarded their best player. I think he was our leading scorer. He came to play. Played like a senior, and that’s what we want from him. For him, missing a year, I think maybe he’s getting back into it. He just had an excellent game for us.”
Harre went on to praise a couple more players for their effort in the contest. “Brandon (Schnitker) got a big steal for us there. When he comes in it kind of picks us up a little bit when we are kind of sluggish, so that’s what we are looking for. Matt has always done a good job for us off the bench. I thought Tanner Bergmann had one of his better games tonight. Did a good job, blocked a couple shots, got a couple buckets for us. I felt like he was really aggressive tonight, so I think he had an excellent game too.”
The Lions were without Luke Ford in the game, which Harre said was a key to the game. The key was they were missing the Ford kid, that’s a big loss. He plays over half a game. You take out a big guy in the middle, and that’s tough on them. And I thought we took some advantage of that.”
Bryce Bultman added nine points in the game, followed by Carson Parker with six points. Cameron Parker and Tanner Bergmann each finished with four points, while Dale Anderson scored three points. Matt Anderson rounded out the scoring with two points.
The Hornets are 7-2 this season, which Harre credits the players and the coaching staff. “7-2, that’s pretty good before Christmas with our schedule. I didn’t know if we could get that many. Credit the kids and the coaching staff. They’re busting their tails. Every game is a chore for us, but it doesn’t get any easier. We have five grueling games over there at Mater Dei, it’s definitely a tough stretch for us coming up.”