Hauser will try to contain big scorers in sectional semifinals

Hauser has played games this season when its defense has had to contend with every opposing player on the court.

Tonight, the Jets will primarily be focused on stopping two Waldron players when the teams meet in the semifinals of the South Decatur Sectional. Seniors Kaden Branam and Hank Johnson combine to account for more than 70 percent of the Mohawks’ scoring output.

“They have two guys that really score,” Hauser coach Griff Roth said. “If we can stop their scorers, we’ll have a chance to win the ballgame.”

Branam averages 21.6 points a game. He scored 33 when Hauser won 75-71 at Waldron on Jan. 20 and erupted for 58 in a 110-107 double-overtime loss at South Decatur on Feb. 10.

Johnson had a season-high 31 in that loss at South Decatur. Both Branum and Johnson went over the 30-point mark for the Mohawks (7-16) in Tuesday’s 74-69 first-round sectional win against Southwestern (Shelby).

“It will be another tough game for us,” Roth said. “They have some excellent shooters. They’re a very good 3-point shooting club.”

Hauser (14-9) received a first-round bye in the sectional. The Jets are coming off a 74-53 win against Eastern Hancock to close the regular season.

Four Hauser players average in double figures, led by senior Connor Wilson’s 15.4 points. Junior Alex Gross averages 14.7 points and 8.4 rebounds, while junior Justin Compton adds 10.9 points and junior Mason Sherman chips in 10.8 points, 3.8 assists and 2.6 steals. The other starter, junior Andrew Titus, often draws the top defensive assignment.

“Our last game was a good win,” Roth said. “We just still need to improve defensively, and that’s going to be the deciding factor. Defense is always our main focus.”

In tonight’s second semifinal, host South Decatur (12-12) will play Class A No. 6 Oldenburg Academy (21-3). The Cougars fell to the Twisters 56-37 in South Decatur’s second game of the season and Oldenburg’s season opener.

Matt Cornett leads the Cougars with 20.5 points and 11.6 rebounds a game. Ben Kinker leads the Twisters at 20.2 points a game.

Tonight’s winners will meet in the sectional final at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

If you go

South Decatur Sectional

Today

6 p.m.: Hauser (14-9) vs. Waldron (7-16)

7:30 p.m.: South Decatur (12-12) vs. Oldenburg Academy (21-3)

Saturday

7:30 p.m.: Championship

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.