The Hanover-Horton High School boys basketball team showed that sharing can still be fun after the holidays with an unselfish exhibition of teamwork Thursday.
The Comets racked up 21 assists and shot 63 percent from the field in an 83-43 rout of a Grass Lake team worn down by Hanover-Horton’s size and strength.
The Comets (4-0, 2-0 Cascades) led 13-10 after one quarter, but a 56-23 edge in the middle quarters — including a 33-point outburst in the third — was the byproduct of what Hanover-Horton coach Chad Mortimer called “passing up good shots for great ones.”
“We talked the other week about using each other to make our team better and sharing the ball, finding the open guy and making the extra pass — and my guys went out and did it,” Mortimer said. “We played the game the right way.”
Hanover-Horton guard Tyler Hull controlled the tempo most of the evening, turning the corner on Grass Lake defenders for quick layups and finding teammates with a variety of pinpoint passes.
He finished with 14 points and seven assists, and Mortimer said his style of play seemed to catch on with his teammates.
“I thought Tyler had a real good floor game, seeing the floor and stuff,” he said. “He pushed the ball well and set up the offense when he needed to, so he had a good floor game.”
Grass Lake coach Joel Cook agreed Hull was tough to stop, but he thought his team’s biggest shortcoming was its lack of brawn inside.
After fronting the post well in the opening quarter, the Warriors (3-2, 1-1) progressively had more trouble with big men Dylan Schuette and Jacob Vancalbergh.
Schuette finished with game highs of 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Vancalbergh tallied 10 points, four rebounds and three assists before fouling out.
“We had a great first quarter, the tempo was in our favor, but their length … we really struggled on the boards, and that started to open things up (for them),” Cook said.
“Every one of my 10 guys played extremely hard the entire game and the effort level was very high, it’s just that Hanover-Horton has put in a lot of time in the gym and weight room year-round.”
Cook’s squad stayed close until midway through the second quarter by slashing to the basket and getting to the line. The Warriors scored nine of their 20 first-half points on free throws but couldn’t sustain that aggressiveness.
Dylan Adams and K.J. Neibauer scored 11 points apiece to lead Grass Lake, and Neibauer grabbed six rebounds.
Mortimer called it a “very good offensive outing” for his team, and the stat sheet backed him up.
Sam Spink had 11 points, and Ben Kesterson had five assists and seven rebounds for Hanover-Horton.
As published in the Jackson Citizen Patriot on Jan. 7, 2011