Boys basketball: Titan first-half flurry stops Pioneers

The Hill-Murray Pioneers traveled to Tartan Jan. 29 for a Classic Suburban Conference boys basketball confrontation and ended up on the bottom side of an 85-70 final tally.

From the stands, it may have appeared there were two different teams playing two different games. The first half belonged to Tartan and the second half to the Pioneers, as they came back and outscored the Titans by 11. But for the Pioneers it was not enough to overcome Tartan’s domination in the first 18 minutes.

When the buzzer sent the teams to the intermission, Tartan had doubled the Hill-Murray total and took a 52-26 leeway to the locker room.

“We played a much better second half,” stated Hill-Murray head coach Dick Ghizoni. “In the first half our defense had a lot to do with what the score had mounted to. We weren’t ready for their attack. We have to wake up and come out ready to play from the opening tip.”

The game against Tartan—a makeup from an earlier postponed contest—was the second in two nights for Hill-Murray. The night before, in another make-up match, the Pioneers dropped a 74-63 decision to St. Thomas.

“We played the top two teams in our conference two nights in a row,” lamented coach Ghizoni.

“Our defense was really good in the first half,” Tartan head coach Mark Klingsporn said.  “We didn’t have a good second half. We just didn’t play a complete game tonight.”

The Titans made five of their eight 3-point shots in the first half. The game was tied at 5-5 when Tartan went on a 14-5 run and led 19-10.

The Pioneers—Alex Ogren and Marshawn Wilson—dropped a couple 3’s, but that did not deter the Titans.

Tartan countered with a 22-8 run. That, combined with a torrid defense, led to the 26-point 52-26 halftime lead for the Titans.

The Pioneers came out determined in the second 18-minutes. Their efforts paid off as the Tartan defense began to send the Pioneers to the charity stripe.

Of the Pioneers’ 44 second-half points, 17 came from the free throw line. In the game Hill-Murray made 18 of 29 free throws, a percentage of 62.

Tartan had 18 of 27 or 66 percent from the line.

The Pioneers had five 3’s while Tartan dropped eight from 3-point range.

In the game, Wilson led the Pioneers with a game-high 25 points. Also in double figures for Hill-Murray were Sam Westby 15 and Jack Fahey 11. They were followed by Ogren 9, Jimmy Quirk 5 and Eric Weimer 5.

Leading the Tartan attack in double figures were Eric Winter 18, Keenan Bellaphant 17, Jordan Horn 13, and Emanuel Humphrey 12. Also producing points in the Tartan triumph were, John Jenkins 7, Thomas Hanson 5, Brody Jackson 4, Jacob Lyle 4, Marion McCoy 3 and Kylon Payne 2.

Hill-Murray will next play the Titans in a return match at Hill-Murray 7 p.m., Feb. 5. They stay at home for a 7 p.m. CSC game against Mahtomedi Feb. 7, before traveling to River Falls for a 7:15 p.m. contest Feb. 11.

Tartan will be at Hill-Murray tonight, before hosting Richfield, 7:30 p.m, Feb. 7. The Titans take to the road to meet Sibley Feb. 11 in a 7 p.m. tipoff.

Wally Wakefield can be reached at


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