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Chris Murphy, Published January 04 2013

Hawley tops Park Christian for boys basketball victory

HAWLEY, Minn. – Friday’s Minnesota boys basketball matchup between Hawley and Moorhead Park Christian paired two teams out to prove something.

The Nuggets wanted to prove their No. 3 ranking in Class 2A is a little low, and the Falcons were looking to prove their 7-1 start was as good as it looked.

Hawley topped Moorhead Park Christian 74-24, despite one of the Nuggets’ best players – Devon Pekas – being out with a right knee injury.

Hawley has momentum and is eyeing the No. 1 ranking in Class 2A after knocking off the No. 7-ranked team in Class 1A Ulen-Hitterdal 51-41 Thursday night.

“We want it,” Hawley forward Ben Ellefson said, regarding the top spot in Class 2A. “We need more to prove it though. We have to beat the No. 1 team in order to get there.”

Well, not everyone on Hawley wants the No. 1 ranking.

“No, we don’t want that,” Hawley coach Jed Carlson said. “We don’t want any more attention. Right now we’re searching for respect in our conference. We got two-time defending section champ Perham and the No. 1 team in the state (Pelican Rapids) next week. We don’t want that. We’ll earn that ,and we’ll worry about that in March when it matters most.”

Hawley (8-0) may have no choice if it keeps beating teams as it did Friday. The Nuggets opened the game with a 7-0 run and never looked back. Park Christian (7-2) made it a 14-10 game on a 3-pointer from Duncan Hannestad, but the Nuggets responded with a 17-5 run to close the half and held the Falcons to four field goals in the second half.

“We came out tonight and we fired on all cylinders,” Carlson said. “It seems like everyone got an opportunity and everyone got involved.”

According to Carlson, Pekas will suit up in Hawley’s next game versus Perham.

Park Christian was hit with the injury bug, as its starting center Hunter Nickel went down late in the first half with a right ankle sprain and did not return.

“There’s no excuses,” Park Christian coach Gary Walton said. “It felt like a couple things went wrong and the wheels just came off. We haven’t experienced that this year. Good teams make you look bad when you don’t play well. It’s a blow for us. We know this is a good program, but we feel like we’re there to compete with teams like Hawley. We just need to go back and look at the tape and fix some things.”

According to Walton, Nickel wanted to return versus Hawley, but will be further evaluated before the Falcons’ next game Tuesday.

H (8-0): Harms 5 1-2 12, Ellefson 7 2-4 19, Omberg 2 0-0 4, Clute 1 0-0 2, Steichen 2 0-0 5, Leaf 2 0-0 5, Crompton 4 0-0 8, Johnson 4 0-0 10, Sellin 2 1-2 5, Filler 1 0-0 2, Teeples 1 0-0 2.

P (7-2): Moberg 3 2-4 8, Kvalvog 1 0-0 2, Hannestad 2 0-0 5, Hanson 2 0-0 4, Nickel 1 0-0 2, N. Moberg 1 0-0 2, Smith 0 1-2 1.

Half: H 31, P 15. 3-point goals: Ellefson 3, Leaf 1, Harms 1, Steichen 1, Johnson 2, Hannestad 1. Total fouls: H 10, P 9. Rebounds: H 28 (Ellefson 7, Crompton 6), P 12 (M. Moberg 3). Turnovers: H 11, P 22.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548