Put on a show
Balance fuels Hawks’ season-opening win
JEWELL — What did Matt Juber expect on the opening night of the season? A win, of course, but maybe not in the dominant fashion displayed by his South Hamilton boys’ basketball team Tuesday night on Coach Jim Marsh Court.
After spotting South Central Calhoun an early two-point lead, the Hawks ramped it up at both ends of the floor and buried the Titans by 13 points, 60-47. South Hamilton built its margin to 21 points before Juber called off the dogs with two minutes remaining, and the second-year head coach walked off the floor encouraged by what he witnessed.
“If I said I wasn’t surprised, I’d probably by lying just because it’s the first game,” Juber said of the relative ease with which his crew rolled through SCC, which won its opener on Monday by 33 points over Audubon. “We’ve got the ability, it’s always going to be can we put it together, can we execute and can we get stops? So I was very pleased with how the start went.”
South Hamilton (1-0) trailed 2-0 and then never again, and balance played a key role. In the paint and on the perimeter, the Hawks consistently punctured the SCC defense to methodically build a cushion. Four players scored in double figures; post presence Carter Hewitt led the way with 15 points. Shooting guard Landen Skartvedt buried three 3-pointers in his first start and poured in 11. Forward Austin Busch added 10, and guard Freddie Lewis slashed his way to the bucket repeatedly for 10 more. Reserve post Clayton Ubben spelled Hewitt throughout and dropped in eight more points.
The Hawks shot 48 percent overall from the floor (26 of 54) and out-rebounded the Titans 37-20.
“I think we’ve got four or five guys that can average 10-plus points a game,” Juber said. “We’ve got guys that can play inside, guys that can play outside and guys that can penetrate. If we dictate things offensively, teams can try to take away one thing and we’ve got counters to that. We should be tough to stop.”
Skartvedt, a sophomore, showed no fear in his first varsity contest. He drained a pair of early 3s from the left side of the floor to put the Hawks in front to stay, and back-to-back breakaway layups by Busch and Lewis in the final minute of the first period shoved the Titans back on their heels.
A three-point play by Hewitt early in the second quarter extended the lead to double digits for the first time, and the advantage grew to 15 by the half on a late bucket inside by Ubben.
Hewitt, a first-year starter, was too much for SCC to contain inside. His big body and long arms forced the Titans to double-, triple- and even quadruple-team him at times, and that left open looks and driving lanes for his teammates. Hewitt drained 7 of 10 shots and he also yanked down six rebounds.
“We’re pushing him to be the best version of himself and he’s responding well so far,” Juber said of Hewitt. “I don’t think there’s a kid that can match him in the post in terms of length and strength.”
SCC opened the second half on a 9-2 spurt to pull to within eight, but it never got closer. The Hawks’ lead jumped back to 15 on a baseline floater by Kyler Hodnefield, and it grew to 21 by early in the fourth. A drive and short jumper by Lewis made it 55-34 with 2:40 remaining, and Juber emptied his bench.
It was a bit of a reprieve for South Hamilton. Juber’s career began with a 65-41 loss to SCC a season ago, a game in which the Hawks turned the ball over 33 times. But they had just 15 on Tuesday.
Hodnefield chipped in five points to go along with six boards and three steals. Busch corralled a game-high nine rebounds.
Joshua Detrich (16 points) and Brennan Holder (14 points) led SCC (1-1).
South Hamilton will be back on its home floor this evening to face Iowa Falls-Alden at 7:30 p.m. The Hawks will face the difficult challenge of defending all-state guard Karson Sharar, who averaged 23.6 points per game last season. Sharar has scored 1,125 points in his career despite missing the majority of his sophomore season to injury.
South Hamilton 60, SC Calhoun 47
Tuesday at Jewell
South Central Calhoun (1-1) — T’Juan Sanders 1 0-2 2, Cole Corey 2 4-5 9, Joshua Dietrich 6 3-9 16, Blake Thompson 1 0-0 3, Brennan Holder 5 1-2 14, Joe Clark 0 0-0 0, Antonio Sanders 0 0-1 0, Eli Wheelock 1 0-0 3. Totals: 16 8-19 47.
South Hamilton (1-0) — Freddie Lewis 5 0-2 10, Carter Hewitt 7 1-1 15, Austin Busch 4 2-2 10, Landen Skartvedt 4 0-0 11, Kyler Hodnefield 2 0-0 5, Tycin Barkema 0 0-0 0, Teagan Trask 0 1-2 1, Chase Friest 0 0-0 0, Landon Grove 0 0-0 0, Carter Balvanz 0 0-0 0, Aiden Johnson 0 0-0 0, Clayton Ubben 4 0-1 8. Totals: 26 4-8 60.
SC Calhoun 9 9 14 15 — 47
S. Hamilton 17 16 14 13 — 60
3-point field goals — SCC 7 (Holder 3, Corey, Dietrich, Thompson, Wheelock); SH 4 (Skartvedt 3, Hodnefield). Rebounds — SH 37 (Busch 9, Hewitt 6, Hodnefield 6). Steals — SH 7 (Hodnefield 3). Assists — SH 9 (Lewis 3, Busch 2). Turnovers — SH 15. Team fouls — SCC 15, SH 18. Fouled out — none.