WALDRON — A car accident before the game kept Hauser junior Alex Gross out of Friday night’s Mid-Hoosier Conference matchup at Waldron, but senior Connor Wilson and company stepped up to fill the void.
Wilson scored nine of the team’s first 13 points, as well as the first eight points of the second quarter, on his way to a career-high 35 points. He also recorded three steals and two blocks as the Jets survived 75-71.
“Alex is very important to our team, Wilson said. “I had to step up or we wouldn’t have done well because we’re the leaders on the team. It’s important for me to do that.”
Wilson was not the only player to step up for Hauser (8-6, 3-0). Justin Compton scored some tough points in key moments during the fourth quarter and ended the game with 18. Mason Sherman also helped fill the void by adding 14 points of his own and also had a solid fourth quarter.
It was a game full of runs. The Mohawks (5-8, 2-2) jumped out to a 16-7 lead after scoring nine consecutive points and ending the first quarter up by eight. The Jets fired back in the second quarter with a 21-2 run, sparked by Wilson’s two 3s and a two-point basket to start the period.
Hauser started the third period with a six-point lead, but Kaden Branam’s 11-point third quarter helped bring the Mohawks within two points.
“We have to give Waldron credit,” Hauser coach Griff Roth said. “They hit a lot of 3s and deep 3s. We were on them with our hand up, but they were playing very well tonight. We just outlasted them.”
Branam hit six 3-pointers on his way to scoring 34 points, while Hank Johnson hit three tough shots from behind the arc in the fourth quarter, ending with 13 points. The Jets created a six-point lead with just over 3 minutes left in the game when Waldron started to battle back with 3-pointers.
Two 3-point shots narrowed the score to 69-67, and the Mohawks had a chance to win the game in the final seconds. Andrew Titus hit one of two free throws for Hauser, giving the Jets a 73-71 lead with 8.8 seconds left.
A good defensive play caused Waldron to lose the ball with two seconds left and forced the Mohawks to foul. Hauser sealed the game with two more free throws with one second left.
Roth said having players step up while Gross was out will help the team in the long run.
“In a season, you have to grow,” Roth said. “And this is just another growing step. Other people have to step up, and that is just another step for us to get better and better leading into the sectional.”