By Mark Jurgena
The Hawks AAU team split their final CNR League contests of the fall at the St. Peter’s, Mo. GameTime Sports Complex on October 17th.
In their opener, they lost to Francis Howell 54-50. It was a return matchup of a September 27th game that ended in a 43-43 tie.
In that game Howell’s 6-10 center Sam Thompson was effective as a rim protector, altering many shots. This game saw more of the same by the big man.
“He had a nice game,” coach Andy Horras said. “He was playing pretty good defense and we really couldn’t get anything going.”
In addition to his defensive presence, Thompson had 16 points including two threes.
Two Hawks players were unable to make the games, Tagg Baker and Jackson Lee. In addition to missing Baker’s shooting, Horras indicated they missed the presence of Lee defensively.
“We really missed Jackson Lee’s defense,” he said. “He’s a tall kid, he can jump really well. That translates really well on the defensive end. He’s disruptive on defense, he gets a lot of defensive rebounds. They got a lot of offensive rebounds. We struggled without him.”
The Hawks carried a 25-22 lead into the halftime break, but Howell drained three straight from beyond the arc to take the lead by six.
Late in the contest, the Hawks trimmed the lead to three but could get no closer.
Nate Graf led the Hawks with 14 points, while Nate Hall and Tray Swygeart both had 13 points.
In the second game, they got out to a big 36-22 lead at the half and ended up beating the D-Block from St. Louis County 68-54.
“About five minutes before halftime we kind of broke it open,” Horras said. “It was tight, it was a close game for a little while, then right at the half we went on a real run.”
For the game, Swygeart led the Hawks in scoring with 20 points. Hall added 15 markers and Matt Clark totaled 13 points.
Hawks Just Miss Title Contest
An early morning three point loss was all that kept the Hawks AAU 17-under basketball team from competing for the championship of the Reebok St. Louis Fall Showdown in St. Charles, Mo. in mid-October.
They began with a three-point loss to Okawville early Saturday morning but returned with a pair of victories over two teams from the Larry Hughes Basketball Academy.
Sunday afternoon they squared off with LHBA-Red in the 3rd place game and pulled out a 58-50 win.
Due to a conflict at the St. Charles Boys and Girls club the game was moved to a court that wasn’t necessarily fitting for varsity play. As a result, both teams decided to not press nor run their fast break thus making it, in essence, a half-court game.
Nate Hall and Dayton Horras led the way for the Hawks. Hall piled up 18 points while D. Horras had 15. Devin Davis added 13 points.
Hall led the way with seven rebounds.
“Everybody shot really well,” Horras said. “Everybody ran their sets, we ran the offense really well. We looked for shots off the offense and they were pretty disciplined. We did a pretty good job playing defense. That team was really good at driving a kick. There were some really good three-point shooters. They hit some shots with our guys right in their face.”
On Saturday, the Hawks began pool play on a cool note against Okawville. They struggled to adjust to the gym surroundings and only scored six points total in the opening half. They ended up shooting 28.6% for the game including 1-15 from three. All that totaled up to a 32-29 Okawville victory.
For their part, the Rockets only shot 36% from the floor.
“It was an ugly game,” said coach Horras. “(in the 2nd half) we got over to the other end where the wall was closer and was a little bit more normal, then we woke up and started playing better. We took a lead at the end then we missed four free throws. A couple were the front end of one-and-ones…we just couldn’t make a free throw.”
Hall led the Hawks with 12 points and six boards while Davis was next with six points. Swygeart pulled down six rebounds.
Later on Saturday, they scored a 52-50 overtime win over a different LHBA team.
The plan for the OT was simple, tip the jump ball forward and go for the early lead in the 1:00 overtime session. It was executed to perfection.
Hall tapped the opening tip forward to D. Horras who chased it down shielding the LHBA defender from the ball. He took one dribble and hit Tray Swygeart in stride for a layup to put the pressure on the LHBA team. The Hawks defense held up their end and they ran out with the win.
Hall led the way with 11 points and eight boards while Swygeart added seven rebounds.