GREENSBURG — Led by dominating performances by its big men down low, the Hauser boys basketball team picked up a 53-43 Mid-Hoosier Conference win Friday night at North Decatur.
The Jets raced out to a quick 8-2 lead in the first quarter, led by the strong defensive play of senior Joe Sweet. His disruptive hands on defense helped Hauser force five Charger turnovers in the quarter.
Calming down, North Decatur settled into a groove and finished the quarter on a 10-2 run during the final five minutes to lead 17-12 heading into the second quarter.
The Chargers strung together two baskets in the first two minutes of the second quarter, putting Hauser in a 21-12 hole. North Decatur collapsed the paint with a zone defense, not allowing the Jets 6-foot-9 towering force, Alex Gross, to work down low.
Held scoreless for five minutes spanning the end of the first quarter and into the second, Andrew Titus sank two free throws to begin a 10-0 Hauser run that put them ahead 22-21 heading into halftime.
“I thought we may have come out a little bit nervous, but we started our run on the defensive end,” Hauser coach Griff Roth said. “We just talked to the guys to get their mindset on defense so that our whole game could start.”
The third quarter belonged to the Jets (8-4, 3-0) and senior Justin Compton. With the Chargers switching to a man-to-man defense, Hauser ran a high-low game with Compton and Gross.
Compton scored 10 straight points to open the quarter, finishing with 26 on the night, to complete a 20-0 run over a 10-minute span.
“We talked about getting it inside to Alex and to Justin,” Roth said of the team’s halftime discussion. “Justin is just a real strong ball player, and we called it out on the bench to try and isolate him, and it worked.”
Leading 40-30 entering the fourth, the Jets continued to feed the ball inside, and the duo of Gross and Compton scored 11 of the team’s 13 points. North Decatur (6-5, 2-2) fought strong, equaling the Jets point total for the quarter, but was unable to overcome the scoring drought that plagued them in the middle of the game.
“They were really focused on Alex and he is a really good passer, so we came out to try and get me some seals, and it really worked out that they were trying to double him,” Compton said of his big third quarter. “The start of our run was based on defense, and going into halftime, we discussed that we can keep playing like that, keep our intensity up, and it will get us better opportunities on the offensive end.”
Gross finished with 10 points. Titus chipped in seven.