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Chris Murphy, Published January 22 2013

Hawley cruises by Breckenridge

HAWLEY, Minn. – A night after rolling the top-ranked team in Class 2A in Pelican Rapids, Class 2A’s No. 6-ranked Hawley boys basketball team cruised by Heart O’Lakes Conference foe Breckenridge 69-40 Tuesday.

The Nuggets capped a stretch of four games in six days and came away without a scratch. Well, at least in the loss column.

“This was a mental game for us,” Hawley forward Devon Pekas said, after netting 17 points versus Breckenridge. “We’re banged up from having that many games in that stretch. We came out tight and we had to get stretched out and mentally focused.”

If Tuesday was a banged up and tired Hawley (13-1, 5-1), opponents should be shaking thinking of a healthy and well-rested Nuggets squad.

Breckenridge’s only lead of the game came on the first field goal when the Cowboys went up 2-0. The Nuggets answered with a 12-2 run, with eight of those points coming from Ben Ellefson. A night after dropping 18 points on Pelican Rapids, Ellefson did not miss a beat, scoring a game-high 23 points and hauling in 11 rebounds.

“We’re pretty banged up,” Ellefson said. “We have some guys that are injured, but we’re trying to keep it going and playing at the level we’ve been playing at. We have 15 guys that can come in and keep the score and keep playing defense. It’s nice to be on that type of a team where everyone is scoring and everyone is contributing.”

The Nuggets took a 35-14 lead into the half and never looked back. Ten different players scored for Hawley, as Philip Teeples, Brandon Sellin, Zach Filler and the rest of the Hawley bench were able to log some quality minutes to give the regulars time to rest.

“This is absolutely our busiest stretch,” Hawley coach Jed Carlson said. “Our bench has given us some really good things. We aren’t dropping off when we go to the bench. When you can play nine or even 10 guys it really helps. Our ‘B’ team guys can really play. Those sophomores are taking advantage of their opportunities.”

The Hawley defense was able to force 25 Breckenridge (3-9, 1-5) turnovers, but Carlson wouldn’t be a coach if he didn’t find a reason to practice.

“We still have some things to work on,” Carlson said. “I’m glad that we have to do that because if we didn’t have anything to clean up then we wouldn’t have anything to do in practice. We have plenty of things to get after. We’re playing hard, got through a tough stretch unscathed, but we just have to keep going.”

As for Ellefson and the rest of Hawley, they wouldn’t mind practicing some rest.

“We need to stay healthy and stay rested,” Ellefson said. “We have one more game this week (versus Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton) and then we have a week off.”

Then again, rest can wait until after March.

“We need to get in the gym and keep working on our defense,” Ellefson said. “The rest will take care of itself.”

H (13-1, 5-1): Leaf 2 0-0 5, Ellefson 9 4-4 23, Pekas 6 4-4 17, Stoa 1 1-2 3, Crompton 1 2-2 4, Teeples 1 2-4 4, Sellin 1 2-2 4, Clute 1 0-0 3, Regnier 1 1-2 3, Steichen 1 0-0 3.

B (3-9, 1-5): Blaufuss 1 0-2 2, Busse 3 3-5 9, Lorenz 3 1-2 7, Christensen 5 3-4 15, Smith 1 0-0 3, Grohman 0 1-2 1, Hiedeman 1 0-0 3.

Half: H 35, B 14. 3-point goals: Leaf 1, Ellefson 1, Pekas 1, Clute 1, Steichen 1, Christensen 2, Smith 1, Hiedeman 1. Total fouls: H 15, B 19. Rebounds: H 31 (Ellefson 11, Crompton 6), B 24 (Lorenz 5). Turnovers: H 14, B 25.

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Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548