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HHS boys' basketball opens season with three wins PDF Print E-mail
Written by April Peregoy   
    If the first week is a good indicator of how the rest of the season will go, the Holyoke Dragons  boys’ basketball team could be in for a winning season.
    It was certainly a hectic opening week, with Holyoke playing three games in five days. The Dragons, however, overcame the drain to beat Wray, 28-14, on Tuesday, Dec. 2; Brush, 44-42, on Thursday, Dec. 4; and Idalia, 54-43, on Saturday, Dec. 6.
    “It was a good week for us,” said coach John Baumgartner. “The boys battled it out, and showed improvement with each game.”
    He added the team did especially well on defense, and though offensively the players had a rough time in the first game, they improved each time they played.
    
Holyoke 28, Wray 14
    “Well, it was a typical first game,” Baumgartner said about the team’s first match-up against Wray on Tuesday night.
    Though both teams played great defense that night, according to Baumgartner, they both also struggled at making their shots. In fact, the final score of 28-14 looked more like a first-quarter-ending score.
    However, as Baumgartner put it, the Dragons “will take the win.”
    “It wasn’t bad for a first game,” he said. “The kids put in a good effort and played hard. They handled the ball well and had some good rebounds. Obviously we have some things to work on, but overall I was pleased.”
    Things got off to a slow start in the first half, with the score at halftime only 13-8. Holyoke stepped up their shooting game a bit in the second, however, while Wray continued to struggle.
    Dragon defense refused to let Wray get in an easy shot, which resulted in Wray making only two field goals and a free throw in the entire second half.    
    Austin Tharp had a good first half, earning all of Holyoke’s six points in the first quarter and then making another three-pointer in the second. He and Ryan Baumgartner both led in points with nine each.
    Both players also contributed the most steals, with Tharp nabbing three and Baumgartner four. As point guard, Baumgartner contributed five assists as well.
    Meanwhile, Michal Brown helped out defensively, rebounding seven balls. Kyle Carper and Evan Swanson brought down four each.
Statistics
Holyoke 28, Wray 14
        2    3    FT    F    TP
                         FG
Tharp    2    1    2-3    3    9    
Baumgartner    4    0    1-1    2    9
Carper    0    0    1-2    2    1
Wailes    3    0    0-0    0    6
Brown    0    0    0-0    2    0
DeBoer    0    0    0-0    0    0
Swanson    0    1    0-0    1    3
TEAM    9    2    4-6    10    28
Wray
TEAM    3    2    2-6    12    14
Scoring By Quarters
Holyoke    6    7    9    6    -28
Wray    2    6    5    1    --14

Holyoke 44, Brush 42
    On Thursday, the Dragons found themselves on the road again, this time to meet up with Brush. Holyoke was prepared for a tough fight, and the opponent didn’t disappoint.
    “Brush is a good team,” said Baumgartner, “and we knew they had scored 73 points in the game they played the night before.”
    From the start it was a close match. Despite Evan Swanson putting up the first three of the night right off the whistle, Brush ended the first quarter one point ahead.
    Gaining momentum in the second, the Dragons bounced back to score a total 19 points before the half. Carper and Tharp were the dynamic duo of the period, adding eight and seven points respectively.
    Ahead by six going into the second half, the Dragons maintained their lead the rest of the game, despite Brush’s valiant effort to take it back.
    In the fourth, the Brush team began to gain on Holyoke, thanks mostly to Kolby Wahlert who put up two three-point field goals. Luckily, Tharp was on fire from the line, swishing five out of six free throw attempts. He and Carper made the final two baskets of the night to give Holyoke the win by two points.
    According to Baumgartner, Holyoke’s offense was “picking it up and hustling,” against Brush, but it was the team’s defense that won the game.
    “Brush’s guards shot well,” he said, “but we were able to shut them down.” He especially credited Brown and Carper for their defensive skills.
    Tharp dominated in points, contributing 23 total while Carper added 14.
    Rebounding stats showed the whole team being aggressive, with five players, Carper, Tharp, Baumgartner, Brown and Swanson, bringing down several balls each.
Statistics
Holyoke 44, Brush 42
        2    3    FT    F    TP
                         FG
Tharp    4    2    9-13    1    23    
Baumgartner    0    0    0-1    1    0
Carper    7    0    0-0    4    14
Wailes    0    0    0-0    2    0
Brown    1    0    2-2    2    4
DeBoer    0    0    0-0    0    0
Swanson    0    1    0-0    0    3
TEAM    12    3    11-16    10    44
Brush
TEAM    13    4    4-6    18    42
Scoring By Quarters
Holyoke    7    19    9    9    -44
Brush    8    12    10    12    --42

Holyoke 54, Idalia 43
    The home court advantage was finally Holyoke’s when the players hosted Idalia on Saturday.
    Both teams got off to an exciting start, with the first four baskets coming from behind the arc. On the Holyoke side, Tharp chipped in two of the threes made in the first quarter and Swanson added one. The period ended with the Dragons up by one.
    HHS put some distance on the scoreboard between them and Idalia in the second quarter, thanks largely to Tharp who put up 10 of Holyoke’s 16 points, including two three-pointers. HHS led by seven at the half.
    Returning from halftime break,  the Dragons continued to extend their lead, adding 15 points to the scoreboard while holding Idalia to 11, and maintaining it through until the end, beating Idalia by 11.
    “We keep on improving,” said Baumgartner about the win. “This game was good because we saw production from everybody. They’re getting the job done.”
    He gave credit to the Idalia athletes, saying they will be a strong 1A team. “They were missing their strongest player on Saturday too,” he added.
    Receiving good comments from the coach was Evan Swanson, who had his best game so far with 11 points, nine of which came from behind the arc.
    Colby Wailes was also praised for his contributions to the Idalia game, both offensively and defensively.
    Tharp again led the team in scoring with 20 and Swanson earned 11. Carper and Tharp also contributed the most rebounds with seven and six respectively.
    Unfortunately, point guard Baumgartner suffered a potentially serious wrist injury during the game on Saturday. As he is one of the team’s strongest players, losing him would be a huge setback for Holyoke.
Statistics
Holyoke 54, Idalia 43
        2    3    FT    F    TP
                FG
Tharp                2    4    4-5    3    20    
Baumgartner    3    0    1-4    3    7
Carper              4    0    1-2    1    9
Wailes              2    0    1-3    1    5
Brown              1    0    0-0    2    2
DeBoer            0    0    0-0    0    0
Swanson         0    3    2-2    2    11
King                 0    0    0-0    0    0
Reid Baum.     0    0    0-0    0    0
TEAM            12    7    9-16    12    54
Idalia
TEAM    14    4    3-5    18    43
Scoring By Quarters
Holyoke    14    16    15    9    -54
Idalia        13    10    11    9    --43

Upcoming action
    Scheduling for the month of December allows the team to take a week-long break before hitting it hard again. The third week of the month will see the Dragons again playing three games in five days; this time hosting Akron on Tuesday, Dec. 16, then traveling to Haxtun Friday, Dec. 19 and then to Ovid to take on 2008 state champions Sedgwick County Saturday, Dec. 20.
    Tuesday and Friday’s games are slated to start at 4 p.m. Saturday’s game will begin at 3 p.m.
    “We’re really looking forward to that week,” said Baumgartner. “Akron’s only had one loss so far to Brush, Haxtun is always a fun team to play and Sedgwick County was last year’s state champ. It should be an exciting week.”