The WCA Knights used a solid defensive effort in a 55-39 win over the Hillcrest Comets on Tuesday night in Fergus Falls. Hillcrest jumped out to an 8-5 lead before the Knights rattled off a 15-5 run taking a 20-13 lead. Hillcrest finished the half with a flurry cutting the Knights lead to 22-20 at halftime. The Knights started the second half on a 14-5 run to take a 36-25 lead on the way to their victory.
”We always know Hillcrest is going to be a tough game,” said Knights coach Kraig Hunter. “Their teams always work hard and play great defense. We were disappointed with the way we finished the first half. We got sloppy with the ball and gave up too many second-chance points to let them back in the game. We challenged the kids at halftime to give a stellar rebounding effort in the second half and to do a better job on Sam Brumfeld and they responded. Nas Dotts did a good job on Sam along with better help from his teammates. I think we got their offense out of sync and then we finished off possessions better with a good rebounding effort in the second half. We didn’t shoot well from the line or from the three tonight, but that’s one of our things is believing that you can still win games on nights you don’t shoot well if you play good defense.”
The Knights defense forced 18 Comet turnovers and held them to 29% (15-51) shooting from the field. The Comets made 4-7 free throws.
“Our defensive energy was not there tonight. We had good moments, but we couldn’t string many good defensive possessions together. Couple that with one stretch of consecutive turnovers in the first half and to start the second half — we just didn’t put ourselves in a position to have success,” said Comets head coach Ryan Garvin. “Kraig Hunter is such a good coach and always has his teams ready to play hard. Tonight was no exception — he has this young group playing well together. They will be tough as they have more minutes together.”
The Knights hit 20-42 shots for 46% and 12-26 from the free throw line. The Knights turned the ball over 16 times. They grabbed 38 rebounds to 28 for the Comets.
Leaders for the Knights were Ryder Staples with 16 points, eight rebounds, and three steals; Cole Anderson had 11 points, a team high nine rebounds, three assists and three steals; Nas Dotts had nine points and three rebounds; Jacob Strunk had seven points three rebounds and three steals; Cam Anderson had five points, six rebounds and five assists; Bryce Kjesbo had three points and three rebounds; Isaac Kreft two points and two rebounds: Damon Sanstead two points and two rebounds; and Mitch Dewey had three rebounds and three assists.
Hunter felt the Knights’ bench play was a key factor in the game.
”I thought Isaac Kreft and Damon Sanstead made a big difference with their post presence, forcing help along with some physical defense and keeping some offensive boards alive. Bryce Kjesbo came in and hit a big three. Mitch Dewey was solid as usual taking care of the ball and distributing some nice assists and Peyton Hanson also came in and played some good defense,” said coach Hunter.
Leaders for the Comets were Sam Brumfeld (16 points), Noah Brumfeld (8 points), Yuchan Ha (8), Luke Sorenson (5), and Caden Fisher (2).
The Knights go into the holiday break 5-1 and will resume play in the Pelican Rapids Holiday Tournament next Tuesday. The Comets are now 2-2 and will hit the court again Wednesday in Andover for a varsity tournament at Legacy Christian Academy slated to begin at 1 p.m.