Hatchet hoopsters lose two games, win one heading into playoffs
Bunce drops double-double; Bolder earns All-Conference honors
For the Tomahawk Leader
TOMAHAWK – The Tomahawk Hatchet boys’ basketball team wrapped up their regular season with two losses and one win heading into the playoffs.
The Hatchets traveled to Antigo on Monday, Feb. 8 to face the Red Robins for the second time in six days and fell by a score of 63 to 37.
Head coach Jacob Jarvensivu said the first half was back and forth, but poor shooting caused the Hatchets to go into halftime trailing by nine points. Jarvensivu said the Red Robins continued their torrid shooting night in the second half, ultimately shooting 47% in the game, while the Hatchets continued to struggle, shooting 30% on the night, allowing Antigo to seal the victory.
Payton Bunce led the Hatchets with 18 points.
“The boys really fought in this game,” Jarvensivu stated. “We struggled to get anything to fall for us offensively, and it was like they couldn’t miss. It’s tough to win when the other team is making all of their shots.”
The Hatchets hosted the Rhinelander Hodags on Tuesday, Feb. 9, and were defeated 68 to 49 in their final conference matchup of the year.
Tomahawk jumped out to a 27 to 15 lead with six minutes left before halftime, but the Hodags began taking advantage of opportunities from the free throw line, going on a 15 to 0 run to take a 30 to 27 advantage into the half. Rhinelander forced turnovers and jumped out ahead in the second half, and the Hatchets were ultimately unable to overcome the Hodags’ slowly growing lead.
The Hatchets were led in scoring by Payton Bunce with 12 points.
“I thought the boys played a really good first half,” Jarvensivu said. “The free throw situation to end the first half was not ideal, with them shooting 13 free throws in the last six minutes of the half, but I thought that the boys battled through the adversity and never quit. We keep getting better every game and that’s all we can ask for.”
The Hatchets took on Crandon at Hatchet Fieldhouse on Friday, Feb. 12, and came away with a 61 to 41 victory in their final regular season matchup of the year.
Crandon started the game on a hot streak, jumping out to an 18 to 10 lead, but the Hatchets battled back and went into halftime up 25 to 20. Jarvensivu said his squad struggled to make shots from anywhere other than the lane, and that trend continued into the second half. With a renewed focus on getting the ball into the post, the ball started to find the bottom of the net, and the Hatchets began to pull away on their way to the 20-point win.
The Hatchets were led in scoring by Payton Bunce, who had a monster 27-point and 14-rebound double-double. Drew Bolder added 14 points. Bolder was also named 2nd Team All-Great Northern Conference, Jarvensivu noted.
“I thought this was a great game to get us ready for the playoffs,” Jarvensivu said after the game. “We felt what it was like to be punched in the face by Crandon’s good shooting first half and responded well. We look to carry that momentum into next week.”
The Hatchets’ playoff game was slated to be held in Tomahawk on Tuesday, Feb. 16 against 4th-seeded Menominee Indian. Tomahawk was the #5 seed.