SHELBYVILLE — Hauser’s hopes of repeating as sectional champions weren’t looking all that great at halftime of Wednesday night’s first-round game against Rising Sun.
The Class A No. 8 Jets found themselves trailing 31-26 after committing 14 turnovers in the first half. But the second half was a different story.
Hauser outscored the Shiners 43-20 over the final two quarters to claim a 69-51 victory and advance to a Friday semifinal against Class A No. 4 Morristown at Southwestern (Shelby).
“We calmly said, ‘We’re not playing the game that we normally can play. We’re not playing as a team. We’re playing individual. We need to come together and play Hauser Jet basketball and not an individual game,’” Hauser coach Griff Roth said of his halftime speech.
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The Jets (17-6) were dominant inside. The 6-foot-9 Alex Gross went 11 of 13 from the field and finished with game-highs of 24 points and 13 rebounds.
Justin Compton added 21 points and seven rebounds on the inside for Hauser.
“I think we settled down a little bit (in the second half),” Gross said. “I think we had some jitters. We had been off for 10 days, so I think we were maybe just a tad bit rusty. But the coaches came up with a great game plan at halftime to figure out what I needed to do.”
Things started off well for the Jets. Gross hit four baskets in the first 2½ minutes and Hauser took a quick 10-0 lead.
But then Rising Sun (12-11) seemed to awaken. The Shiners came back to take a 13-12 lead. Point guard Mason Sherman scored to give the Jets a 14-13 lead in the final minute of the first quarter but then picked up his second foul.
With Sherman on the bench the entire second quarter, Rising Sun rallied to take the lead.
“It was hard to watch,” Sherman said. “I really wanted to be in there, but I trusted my teammates to get the job done when it needed to be done. We came out hot a little bit, and then we slowed down. They really made us realize that we have to step up our game and just take over and do what we do best.”
The bench was able to keep Hauser in the game the second quarter. Joe Sweet hit a 3-pointer, Will Trotter had a free throw, a rebound and a couple steals, and Matt Sweet gave the Jets some big minutes defensively.
The Jets led 26-23 with 2:40 left in the first half before the Shiners scored the final eight points of the half.
“Mason is a great ballplayer, and we definitely miss him when he’s not on the court,” Roth said. “But we didn’t have Mason for a few games, so the Sweets have had a chance, and Will has had a chance to step up and play.”
Hauser opened the third quarter on a 7-2 run to tie the game. Rising Sun took its least lead at 37-36 late in the period before back-to-back three-point plays by Gross and Sherman sparked a 14-4 run that gave the Jets the lead for good.
Sherman, who finished with 17 points, gave Hauser its biggest lead at 69-49 with a basket in the final minute.
Gross, Compton and Sherman combined for all but one of the Jets’ 43 second-half points.
“(Roth) just said we were basically playing awful, and we needed to step it up, and I feel like we did that,” Compton said. “Mason was attacking really well, and that was drawing attention. Alex was making his shots inside, and that was drawing attention. That was just leaving the back door open for me and (Sam) Meek.”