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Jr. Hornets Make Return Trip To State

Front Row: Connor Gladson, Carson Cook. Lucas Knepp, Trey Reinburg, Aaron Brink, Rylan Hammer, Aidan Heiman. Back Row: Nolan Heggemeier, Ian Blazier, Kolten Gajewski, Hayden Robinson, Michael Combs, Bennett Briles, Saxton Hoepker, Radyn Schwartzkopf 

Jr. Hornets Make Return Trip To State

By Brent Huelsmann

The Nashville Middle School Jr. Hornets are headed back to the State Tournament. The Jr. Hornets took home the Regional Championship in the SIJHSAA Class M Nashville Regional. The Jr. Hornets advanced to the State Tournament, and will begin play against Sparta on February 2 at 4:45 p.m. The Jr. Hornets go into the State Tournament with a 19-6.
As the regular season wound down, the Jr. Hornets picked up a win over DuQuoin on January 17. Nashville used a big third quarter to break a halftime tie and take a 38-33 win.
A close game in the first half, the Jr. Hornets led just 9-8 at the end of the first, and the game was tied at 15 at halftime.
The Jr. Hornets gained breathing room in the third quarter as they outscored DuQuoin 15-8 to take a 30-23 lead into the fourth. In the final quarter of play, DuQuoin outscored Nashville, 10-8 but it was not enough as Nashville grabbed the 38-33 win.
Nolan Heggemeier led Nashville with nine points in the win. Hayden Robinson added eight points, followed by Aaron Brink and Ian Blazier who both finished with six points. Kolten Gajewski added four points, while Lucas Knepp finished with three points. Michael Combs rounded out the scoring with two points.
In the seventh grade game, the Jr. Hornets picked up a 29-25 win. Trey Reinburg led Nashville with 10 points, followed by Bennett Briles with seven points. Kaden Gajewski finished with four points, while Carson Cook and Aidan Heiman each chipped in three points. RyLan Hammer scored two points for Nashville.
The Jr. Hornets finished out the regular season with back to back road games, the first of which was against Breese on January 18. The Jr. Hornets dominated the first quarter and went on for a 51-19 win.
Nashville was on fire in the first, as they put up 21 points. The Jr. Hornets defense gave up just four points in the frame and Nashville held a commanding 21-4 lead after the first. Nashville kept up the onslaught in the second as they continued to build their lead. Nashville outscored Breese 14-6 in the second to take a 35-10 lead into the break.
In the second half, Breese could not make a comeback as the Jr. hornets cruised to a 51-19 win.
Robinson led Nashville with 11 points in the win. Robinson was joined in double figures by Kolten Gajewski who finished with 10 points. Blazier added nine points, followed by Combs with eight points. Saxton Hoepker finished with five points, while Heggemeier finished with three points. Reinburg scored two points in the win, and Reinburg scored one point to round out the scoring.
Breese picked up the win in the seventh grade game 29-28. Reinburg led the way with nine points, followed by Heiman and Kaden Gajewski who each finished with six points. Quintin Loquasto finished with five points, and Hammer finished with two points.
The Jr. Hornets finished the regular season with a 59-34 win over Murphysboro.
Again Nashille got off to a quick start as they outscored Murphysboro 16-10 in the first quarter. The Jr. Hornets extended their lead in the second as they outscored Murphysboro 16-13 to take a 32-23 lead into halftime.
After halftime, the Jr. hornets continued to cruise as Nashville outscored Murphysboro 15-10 in the third, and 12-1 in the fourth to take a 59-34 win.
Kolten Gajewski finished with 22 points, followed by both Robinson and Combs who finished with 11 points apiece. Heggemeier added eight points, while Knepp chipped in three points. Brink and Hoepker finished with two points apiece in the win.
The seventh grade team ended their season with a 41-29 loss to Murphysboro. The seventh grade team finished with a record of 17-5.
Loquasto led the team with 13 points in the loss. Reinburg added 10, while Cook, Hammer, and Heiman each added two points.
The Jr. Hornets began the postseason on January 25 as they took on Lebanon in the first round of the SIJHSAA Class M Nashville Regional. The Jr. Hornets dominated the action, as Nashville took the win 50-11.
Nashville got off to the quick start as they jumped out to a 25-3 lead after the first quarter. The Jr. Hornets put the game away before halftime, as they outscored Lebanon 13-1 in the second to take a 38-4 lead into half.
After halftime, the Jr. Hornets were on cruise control as they easily grabbed a 50-11 win.
Kolten Gajewski led the way with 22 points, followed by Combs with 10 points. Brink added six points, while Blazier chipped in four points. Hoepker and Gladson each finished with three points, and Cook rounded out the scoring with two points.
The Jr. Hornets moved on to their second straight Regional Championship game. Last season, Nashville fell to Breese in the Regional Championship.
This year was a different story, as the Jr. Hornets took the lead and never looked back to book their return trip to state with a 38-21 win over Carlyle.
The Jr. Hornets took the early lead, as they outscored Carlyle 12-4 in the first quarter. In the second, Nashville continued to build their lead, as the Jr. Hornets outscored Carlyle 12-7 to take a fifteen point lead into the break.
In the second half, the Jr. Hornets again were able to cruise as they outscored Carlyle 6-4 in the third, and was able to prevent a fourth quarter comeback as the Jr. Hornets took the 38-21 win.
Combs led the way with 15 points, followed by Gajewski with eight points. Brink added five points, while Knepp and Blazier each added four points. Hoepker added two points in the win.

A full gallery of the Regional Championship action for the Jr. Hornets can be found here.

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