Tapping into potential: Hayfield senior leads Vikings past Rebels

Published 10:44 pm Tuesday, December 4, 2018

HAYFIELD — Hayfield senior Mason Tapp has been waiting a long time for this season and he’s making it count. Tapp scored over 20 points for the third straight game and he finished with a double-double as the Vikings topped Southland 71-55 in Hayfield Gym Tuesday.

Tapp, who missed much of last year with an injury compiled 23 points, 10 rebounds and four assists on Tuesday and he’s now averaging 24 points per game for the Vikings (2-1 overall).

Hayfield’s Mason Tapp takes it to the rack against Southland’s Reece Tapp, right, in Hayfield Tuesday. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

“I’ve been attacking,” Tapp said. “I’m doing everything I can to either get myself an open look or find an open teammate. I was working every day this summer towards basketball. Last year I missed a lot of time and that was hard. I put in a lot of work to be better this year.”

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Tapp has been a prolific three-point shooter in the past for the Vikings, but he only hit one three-pointer against Southland. He created most of his offense with his back to the basket or by driving into the paint.

“He’s a completely different player,” Hayfield head coach Chris Pack said. “Last year he didn’t really want to go to the basket and he didn’t like the contact. Tonight he scored most of his points in the lane. That makes it harder to guard him because they have to respect the three and the drive.”

Southland’s Reece Tapp, left and Hayfield’s Brady Nelson, right, battle for a loose ball in Hayfield Tuesday. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

Hayfield junior Patrick Towey added 15 points in the win, but he was also content to drive and dish to Tapp whenever he had the chance.

“Mason’s the best player,” Towey said. “Everyone knows about him in the area. He’s a great three-point shooter and he’s a good defender.”

Hayfield has scored more than 70 points in all three of its contests this season, but the team has struggled on defense. The Rebels were able to put up 36 points in the second half on Tuesday and Grand Meadow came back from a 19-point deficit to beat Hayfield last week.

“I told them at the start the year, our offense would be way ahead of our defense,” Pack said. “We’ve got talented guys that can put the ball in the hole and all five of our starters can easily score in double figures. We’re doing some different things defensively and it’s taking us awhile to get used to it. They’re winning to learn and they’re energetic.”

Southland (0-1 overall) took an early 3-0 lead on a three-pointer by Matt Mueller, who had 13 points, but the Vikings responded with a 7-0 run and never trailed gain.

Southland’s Lee Wilson handles the ball against defensive pressure from Hayfield in Hayfield Tuesday. Rocky Hulne/sports@austindailyherald.com

Southland 19  36    55

Hayfield 37  34    71

Hayfield scoring: Madison Tapp, 23; Patrick Towey, 15; Ethan Slaathaug, 9; Luke Dudycha, 7; Isaac Matti, 7; Alex Heins, 2; free throws: 56 percent (9-for-16); rebounds: 34 (Tapp, 10); turnovers: 4

Southland scoring: Matt Mueller, 13; Ethan Forthun, 12; Lee Wilson, 8; Reece Tapp, 6; Dan Boe, 4; Travis Russell, 4; Carter Schmitz, 2; Cole Medgaarden, 2; Carter Jax, 2; free throws: 69 percent (11-for-16); rebounds: 32 (Forthun, 7); turnovers: 10