SH has no trouble with Eagles in postseason opener

The South Hamilton bench reacts to a Carter Balvanz 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter during the team’s 65-38 rout of Eagle Grove in a Class 2A district quarterfinal on Monday in Jewell. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

JEWELL — The postseason is where the South Hamilton boys’ basketball team eats, and on Monday the Hawks were mighty hungry.

With appearances in the substate round in six of the last seven seasons — not to mention three trips to the state tournament over that span — South Hamilton kicked off what it hopes will be another deep run with a 65-38 pasting of winless Eagle Grove on Coach Jim Marsh Court in a Class 2A District 14 quarterfinal.

Things got out of hand quite early, courtesy of a 17-0 flurry by the Hawks midway through the first quarter, and their advantage never dipped below double digits over the final 26 minutes of the contest.

As first steps go, this was a good one.

“We’re a team that has the potential at any time to play with just about anybody,” South Hamilton head coach Matt Juber said. “With the tradition and some of the expectations we have as a program, the finality of the postseason brings that edge back a little bit and (Monday night) the guys showed that. We seemed to be locked in from the get go.”

Kyler Hodnefield glides to the basket for an uncontested layup against Eagle Grove on Monday. He scored 13 points in the Hawks’ Class 2A District 14 quarterfinal win. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

Senior point guard Kyler Hodnefield ran the show. He led the Hawks’ transition game that played a big role in the early onslaught, and in the half-court he carved up the Eagles’ zone defense with drives into the lane and crisp passes to open teammates for easy buckets.

Hodnefield scored 13 points — he was one of three Hawks in double figures — and distributed 10 assists. He also collected four of South Hamilton’s 15 steals, as the Hawks forced Eagle Grove (0-22) into 24 turnovers.

“Really since the Christmas break, we’ve seen him take on more of a facilitator role,” Juber said of Hodnefield. “Game by game, he’s getting more comfortable and we’re continuing to push him to be a threat in the lane. He’s really rounding into form and it brings everybody’s game to another level.”

Austin Busch led South Hamilton (15-6) with 15 points, four rebounds and four steals. He was particularly energized in the first half with 11 points, helping South Hamilton race out to a 35-16 advantage at the break. Hodnefield had nine of his points during the initial 16 minutes.

Clayton Ubben came off the bench to post 14 points inside the lane for the Hawks. He spelled starting center Carter Hewitt throughout; Hewitt finished with six points and a team-high seven rebounds.

South Hamilton senior forward Clayton Ubben (center) is fouled as he attempts to score on an out of bounds alley-oop play during the second half against Eagle Grove on Monday in Jewell. Ubben scored 14 points in the Hawks’ 65-38 win in the Class 2A District 14 quarterfinal contest. DFJ photo/Troy Banning

South Hamilton shot 55 percent from the field (27 of 49) and canned 4 of 6 3-point baskets. Freddie Lewis buried a 3 from the corner during the 17-point surge in the first quarter, and a Tycin Barkema triple from the top of the key in the second quarter extended the cushion to 20 points.

The Hawks got a little sloppy in the third quarter and finished with 16 turnovers, but Eagle Grove was never able to make a dent in its deficit.

Drake Canavan scored 15 points and Chase Mason had 10 to pace the Eagles.

South Hamilton advanced to Thursday’s district semifinal round where a familiar opponent awaits. The Hawks will travel to Rockwell City to take on South Central Calhoun (16-5) at 7 p.m.

South Hamilton knocked off South Central Calhoun, 60-47, in the Hawks’ season opener on Dec. 1 in Jewell. The Titans’ zone defense didn’t both Juber’s club that night, as Lewis, Hewitt, Busch and Landen Skartvedt all scored in double figures. But the head coach expects improvements from both teams in the rematch.

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

“I’m sure they’ve made some gains and strides, and I think we have too,” he said. “We’ve gotten more comfortable against the zone, and going into every game, it’s more about what we do than anything.”

South Hamilton 65, Eagle Grove 38

Class 2A District 14 Quarterfinal

Monday at Jewell

Eagle Grove (0-22) — Jordan Morris 0 0-0 0, Drake Canavan 6 2-2 15, Jake Darland 2 0-0 5, Austin Purcell 2 0-0 6, Cody Gearhart 0 0-0 0, Chase Mason 3 2-2 10, Orlando Hernandez 1 0-0 2, John Pamperin 0 0-0 0, Tate Richardson 0 0-0 0, Kenneth Flores 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 4-4 38.

DFJ photo/Troy Banning

South Hamilton (15-6) — Freddie Lewis 1 0-0 3, Tycin Barkema 2 0-0 5, Carter Hewitt 3 0-0 6, Tucker Clabaugh 0 0-0 0, Austin Busch 6 3-3 15, Landen Skartvedt 1 0-0 2, Kyler Hodnefield 6 0-0 13, Teagan Trask 0 2-2 2, Chase Friest 1 0-0 2, Landon Grove 0 0-0 0, Carter Balvanz 1 0-0 3, Clayton Ubben 6 2-4 14. Totals: 27 7-9 65.

E. Grove 8 8 13 9 — 38

S. Hamilton 21 14 15 15 — 65

3-point field goals — EG 6 (Purcell 2, Mason 2, Canavan, Darland); SH 4 (Lewis, Barkema, Hodnefield, Balvanz). Rebounds — SH 31 (Hewitt 7, Ubben 5, Busch 4). Steals — SH 15 (Busch 4, Hodnefield 4). Assists — SH 18 (Hodnefield 10). Turnovers — SH 16. Team fouls — EG 6, SH 9. Fouled out — none.


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