STORY BY RUSSELL HEITMANN
PHOTO BY BRIANNA TUREK AND MCKENZIE WEDEL
VIDEO BY ANNA LICHTI AND KELLY KRUSE
Hastings College shot above 40 percent from both the floor and the three-point line for the second game in a row, but for the second straight game, the Broncos fell, this time to the No. 6 Briar Cliff University Chargers, 89-77.
Hastings hit 45 percent from the field and 42 percent from three but couldn’t slow down the Charger attack, which was led by 21 points and five assists from Erich Erdman. Briar Cliff also got 19 points from Bryan Forbes and 18 from Shane Graves.
However, offense wasn’t the only factor that contributed to Briar Cliff’s victory, the Chargers also defended the ball well in the way of forcing Hastings into 18 turnovers, including 11 at the half. Bill Gavers, head coach of the Broncos, credited Briar Cliff’s defense for impacting the game.
“They’re the best defensive team in the league,” Gavers said. “Everyone talks about offense [in the GPAC] but they average giving up 75 points-per-game defensively and everyone else gives up over 80 and some in the 90’s. Defense still matters and defense still wins.”
Gavers credits the activity and quick hands of the Chargers for forcing so many Bronco turnovers. He also mentioned the offense fouls Briar Cliff was able to draw as a factor.
“They took four or five charges and to be able to take a charge you have to be in early help and be in great position, and they are,” Gavers said. “That’s a credit to them that they are able to get in position early and their rotations are good defensively.”
The loss came as bitter sweet for Hastings, as the men’s and women’s seniors were recognized prior to the men’s game. Gavers had a lot of positive praise for his senior class.
“They are a great group of guys,” Gavers said. “David Plain brings a lot of energy and athleticism and does a great job for us. Carson Blum, you aren’t going to find a better leader anywhere, and it’s just that simple. Derek Kissinger is one of the most unselfish players I have been around. Kendall Ferguson, who really has only played one year at the varsity level, is a real coachable kid who wanted to be great. Zach Clemens has had big games for us. It’s just a great group to be around every day.”
Hastings College was led by Carson Blum, who scored 16 points and pulled down four rebounds. The Broncos also got contributions from Feguson, Plain and Rich Williams who all scored 12 points. Conner Musiel added 11 points and five assists as well.
With their win, Briar Cliff improves to 25-3 and 16-2 in the GPAC while Hastings falls to 16-11 and 9-9 in the conference. Both squads will next play home games on Wednesday as Briar Cliff hosts Morningside and Hastings welcomes Midland University. Both games are set to tip-off at 8 p.m.