HOPE — Celebrating homecoming festivities Friday night, the Hauser boys basketball team took control early and coasted past Mid-Hoosier Conference foe Waldron 79-28.
Opening the first quarter on a 13-0 run, the Jets took control through the defensive end. Hauser forced four early turnovers in the quarter and did not allow the Mohawks to score until the 2:20 mark.
With five seconds remaining in the quarter, Alex Gross broke free and slam-dunked home a basket just before the buzzer sounded, giving the Jets a 22-5 lead.
With Waldron doubling down on Gross, the lane opened up for Hauser, which led to the strong play of forward Caleb Orlich. Orlich scored 11 of his career-high 13 points in the first two quarters to help the Jets extend their lead to 26 points heading into halftime.
“Anytime I pass him (Gross) the ball, I always look to cut on the opposite side, and he is able to find me,” Orlich said of his aggressive play in the first half.
The Jets (9-5, 4-0) stormed out of the gates to start the second half, opening the third quarter on a 9-2 run. Senior guard Mason Sherman had the hot hand in the quarter, slicing his way through the Waldron 2-3 zone to score seven of Hauser’s 23 points in the quarter.
“We expect them to double down on Alex, so we practice for that a lot,” Sherman said. “I saw the gaps and I felt like I could take them.”
The Jets were able to allow many of their reverses to see the floor in the final period, with sophomore Trey Johnson taking advantage of the opportunity. Johnson scored three baskets and a free throw to finish with seven points.
Taking control of the game early, Hauser coach Griff Roth’s message to his team on the bench was to not become lazy and to continue to stay aggressive the entire game.
“When you get a lead like that, you have to stay focused, and that was what we talked about,” Roth said. “Let’s come out strong and not get back on our heels. Let’s keep moving forward. We are going to concentrate on conference and getting a championship there.”