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Midgets docked by Ashland


February 20, 2016

Jason Juno/Daily Globe

Hurley's Isaac DeCarlo shoots as Ashland's Brendan Carter (15) defends during Friday night's game at the Hurley K-12 School.

HURLEY - Ashland's 3-17 record doesn't do that team any justice. Friday night's final score didn't showcase Hurley's strong effort either.

The Oredockers defeated the Midgets 68-57 Friday night in front of a tournament-like crowd to watch the two rivals on Parents Night and homecoming.

Hurley came back from a 34-23 halftime deficit, coming as close as one point in the second half. But Ashland leading scorer Brendan Carter, 26 points, struck for three and-1 plays down the stretch when the Oredockers pulled away.

"It's frustrating," Hurley coach Mike Swartz said. "The kids try everyday, they're working hard. They're just not getting rewarded right now. It kills you. It kills you. The guys are down 11 at half. Instead of hanging their heads, they buckled down, they played harder, they fought harder. They were so close tonight. So close. But we just couldn't pull it out."

The night before, Ashland lost by two points to a very good Phillips team. Swartz wasn't fooled by their record, knowing his team was in for a fight as the Midgets were also without starting guard Carson Thewis, whose outside shooting would have helped against Ashland.

"We've been getting better and so to finally get over the hump and play against a team that has a big night here, it's Parents Night, it's a big deal for us," Ashland coach Brian Miller said. "I'm really happy for them."

Ashland shot 6 of 12 from behind the arc in the first half, including a rushed 3 at the buzzer to take a 34-23 lead at the half. James Sukanen had some foul trouble in the first half. He hurt Ashland at times with his play on the baseline and his putback attempts.

In fact, Miller told his team they were going to give him a stroke the way they were defending the baseline.

"He's a good basketball player and he was just killing us on the baseline," Miller said. "But we settled down a little bit. You knew he was going to score some points, he's a good ballplayer. As a coach, that scares the living daylights out of you when a kid can do that.

"Second half, we told the guy we had on him, give him everything but the baseline because you know where he's going to go. We did a better job and we tried to make sure he didn't get a second chance. We blocked him out."

The Midgets still scored the first two baskets of the second half to get right back in it. They cut the lead all the way to 45-44 on a Sukanen basket.

"That ugly 3 they hit at the (halftime) buzzer, that's deflating. Our kids didn't let it get to them," Swartz said. "They played hard and kept fighting and gave it everything they had tonight. They have nothing to hang their head about. That was a well-played game. The kids battled hard."

It was 51-49 Ashland after a Tandrell Foster free throw in the final minutes.

"We built a little lead and then coach Mike came back with a trap there," Miller said. "We didn't respond to it well and they got back in it. Nice job by Hurley. Then my kids settled down, hit some shots. We went to a little different offense, so we could get to the free throw line."

And that's when Carter took over.

He got a putback to go while being fouled and he hit the free throw for a 54-49 lead with 3:39 left.

Ashland's A.J. Galligan took a charge on the other end. But Hurley responded with a stop and Kohl Manzanares drove and dumped to Foster for a layup. Hurley trailed 54-51.

But Carter struck yet again, taking the feed from Jordan Brennan and hitting the close shot and free throw for a 57-51 lead.

Sukanen scored as Hurley responded again, but there was Carter - again. His third three-point play in the span of around two minutes made it 60-53 with over a minute left and Ashland made free throws from there.

"He's a good, athletic kid. Brendan can jump well," Miller said. "If he's got the right matchup, he can get to the rim. That's what he did. We had to get to the free throw line down there and I'm really happy for him."

Sukanen led Hurley with 19 points. Foster had 10. Thewis is cleared to play Monday. Ashland played Hurley tight and the Midgets only hit two 3s without Thewis, instead having to rely on penetration.

"Isaac (DeCarlo) and Kohl (Manzanares) did a good job of getting to the rim and creating stuff for us offensively," Swartz said.

Swartz goes to the seeding meeting today for the WIAA Division 4 postseason, which starts March 1. Hurley should be in line for a first-round home game, a top eight seed is needed in the 13-team bracket. They could land anywhere from fifth to eighth, if things go as expected.

Hurley (10-10) goes to Butternut Monday.

Ashland - Brendan Carter 26, Riley Larson 2, Tyler Vanvlack 3, Jordan Brennan 11, Jordan Coffland 19. FTs: 16-21. Fouls: 20. Fouled out: None. 3-pointers: Coffland 4, Brennan 3, Vanvlack 1.

Hurley - Isaac DeCarlo 9, Josh Quello 6, Kohl Manzanares 7, Dante Bender 2, Tandrell Foster 10, James Sukanen 19, Chris Rye 4. FTs: 19-25. Fouls: 19. Fouled out: None. 3-pointers: Quello 1, Foster 1.

Ashland 34 68

Hurley 23 57


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