HINCKLEY-FINLAYSON 53, BARNUM 44
I was back on the road for the first “remote” out & about since March of 2020 when I went to the new gym at St. Peter for the finals of 2A & 2AA. Monday’s excursion was up to Hinckley-Finlayson. I have not been to a game there since the 6-8 Amber Dvorak era in the late 2000s. Dvorak signed with the Gophers, but found happiness at the D2 level at Drury. She then was rostered on the GBL St. Louis Surge. The Jaguars have also upgraded their facilities with a new venue since that time. The home team rallied from a nine point first half deficit to ground the Bombers 53-44.
It was a I-35 Monday night battle with Barnum, of the Polar League traveling south to visit the Jags, part of 7AA & the Great River Conference. Both these teams made the state tournament in the first decade of this century, but since then both have been on the outside. They are now back in A. Barnum did move up to AA for a while and that stopped their cycle of state tournament appearances. The Bombers won it all in A in 2010 with a 43-31 victory over Goodhue (now in AA). In the old days HF had the height (Dvorak) and Barnum weaponized the 3, living up to the Bomber name. Now the roles are reversed. Barnum has the height, HF fired away from beyond the arc. Junior Allison Marine is 6-2 if not taller. Returning Polar League all conference Junior Rayna Klejeski, who plays with WI Playmakers during the club season, is 6-0. Despite all that height, the Bombers failed to leverage it inside. They were a combined 8/28 near the rim, slightly worse than HF’s 8/24. Meanwhile HF nailed six 3s, two better than the Bombers.
It took a while for either team to heat up. Three minutes and a combined 14 possessions lapsed before Olivia Hoppe for HF scored the first basket, a 3. The mishandled balls, and cold shooting lingered most of the first half. Barnum had a 23-14 advantage right before half, but senior Bella Brant, who came off the bench, nailed a 3 at the first half buzzer to give the Jags a lift, cutting the deficit to six 23-17 at the break. Brant ended up leading both teams in scoring with 14 points. HF took their first lead in the second half at 38-37 on a 3 by senior Rylie Kreger. After a HF five point lead, Barnum tied it at 44. The Bombers would not score again the rest of the game—a string of ten possessions. With 3:50 left Brant scored after one of the 29 Barnum turnovers to put HF in front to stay.
There was a member of the 31 Club—-with Rayna Klejeski notching a 35, but it was also one of the lower pp100s for a 31 Clubber with only a 50. HF’s sophomore guard Reese Hartl just missed out with a 30, but she had an even lower pp100 score of 47.4. The best pp100 score belonged to Brant with an even 100, a game high 14 points. She was the TRENCH PLAYER of the game. HF, as a team only was at 61.6 pp100. Barnum, hampered by the plethora of turnovers and 27% shooting inside the 2s, checked in at 53.6.