Hawks return to winning ways over Tigers
By Darren Lum
Coming off the team’s first Kawartha conference loss to rival Falcons of Fenelon Falls Secondary School, the senior boys’ Red Hawks basketball team bounced back into the win column with a dominant 54-28 win over the visiting Lakefield Tigers in Kawartha A Interlock action on Tuesday, Jan. 19 in Haliburton.
Besides a closely contested first quarter when the score was 8-7 for the Tigers, the Hawks never looked back after taking a 14-10 lead at the halftime break and adding 18 points in the third, easily outpacing the visitors’ nine points.
Hawks coach Dave Waito said his team had far more energy than the day before leading to the convincing win in front of a home crowd on Tuesday.
He loved how his team’s scoring was spread among all eight players on his team.
Hawks forwards Nick Thompson and Hunter Smith, who also added nine rebounds and five assists, combined for 28 points while teammates Caleb Schmidt and McKay Coneybeare helped on the defence end with five steals each. Thompson finished with a double-double, scoring a team and game high 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
He adds the team has begun to draw up offensive schemes for his other players besides the top two scorers of Thompson and Smith.
Waito said the team came out flat against the Falcons in the 35-31 loss on Monday, Jan. 18 and paid for it with a loss that snapped an eight-game winning streak.
“If we would have played like we played the second half today it would have been a win,” he said.
Having the win streak broken wasn’t entirely negative, as loss isn’t always a bad thing for a team nearing the post-season, Waito said.
“Sometimes those things can be good going into playoffs,” he said. “Sometimes there is a lot of pressure playing an undefeated season, but clearly today there are lessons that came out of it because they came out with much more energy in the second half today. That’s what we needed.”
For close to two weeks the team takes a break for exams.
Right after this break the team will return to the court when it travels to Petawawa for the Falcon Classic tournament from Feb. 5 to 6. They are assured three games. Then the team’s next Kawartha conference game is against I.E. Weldon Secondary School, which is tied with the Hawks for first. A win guarantees top spot for Kawartha West and a loss will ensure second place.
Waito and the team believe the undefeated season is historic (first Kawartha West title in most recent memory), but it is just one step away from the long term goal.
“We don’t want to feel like we felt yesterday at the end of the game. To make a perfect season would have been great, but that’s not what we’re playing for. That’s a COSSA [Central Ontario Secondary School Athletics] championship. That’s the end goal. We’re still on path for that,” he said.
Interlock game determines A Kawartha seeding for the post-season.
The three Kawartha A teams are HHSS, Lakefield and the Brock Bulldogs.
Waito said the win against the Tigers ensures the first seed for the Kawartha A playoffs, which means the team will play the second seeded representative from the Quinte region.
Haliburton hosts the COSSA championship tournament on Feb. 25.
Waito wants as much support as possible for that event. Game times have not been scheduled.
He said it’s a great opportunity for the community, family and loved ones to be able to come and support the team in its quest for a championship.
“Haliburton basketball is being talked about in the area and that’s a good thing. It’s been a long haul, but we’re excited that’s happening so if community people want to come in [Feb.] 25 there’s going to be basketball all day long. There will be junior and senior [six games] ... it’ll be good. It’ll be some better ball of the season,” he said.