GREENSBURG — Hauser junior Alex Gross missed the first game against Waldron earlier this season because of a car accident, but made his presence known in the South Decatur Sectional semifinal rematch Friday night.
Waldron could not keep Gross of the glass. The 6-foot-7 junior finished with 18 rebounds in a 75-48 win against the Jets’ Mid-Hoosier Conference rival. He also scored a team-high 27 points while recording three blocked shots.
Hauser beat Waldron by only four points with Gross out of the earlier game. Jets coach Griff Roth said there is usually a mismatch when he is on the court, so they always look to feed Gross the ball.
“Alex is a very good ball player, and having him in the game changes the whole game,” Roth said. “Tremendous game by our big guy … the other guys feed off of Alex.”
An 8-0 run at the end of the first quarter got the ball rolling for Hauser (15-9), which found itself with a 41-23 lead by the end of the first half. Mason Sherman and Clayton Wilson accounted for eight of the Jets’ 10 steals, which helped create some easy baskets.
Sherman also had 10 points and a blocked shot.
Waldron’s Kaden Branam tried to bring the Mohawks back with 15 third-quarter points to help cut the lead to 10, but a buzzer beating 3-pointer by Gross pushed the lead back to 13 going into the fourth.
Branam tied Gross’ game-high of 27 points.
Justin Compton took over for the Jets by scoring 10 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter to keep the Mohawks (7-17) from making any type of run. Compton kept the offense rolling, while the Hauser defense allowed only five points in the final quarter.
Connor Wilson finished with 12 points and five rebounds for the Jets.
“Teams like to double- and triple-team (Gross), and I’m able to find shots underneath,” Compton said. “When we’re on the same page and clicking like that, it works really well for the whole team and it just creates a system.”
Hauser hopes to keep that system going when it plays Class A No. 6 Oldenburg Academy in the sectional championship at 7:30 tonight.