Hayfield’s run comes to an end in semifinal loss

Published 3:19 pm Saturday, March 11, 2023

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ROCHESTER – The No. 3 seeded Hayfield boys basketball team finally found a challenge it couldn’t overcome.

After winning the last two Class A state titles, the Vikings hit a shooting slump in the first half that led to their demise in a 57-46 loss to No. 2 Spring Grove in a Section 1A semifinal in Mayo Civic Auditorium Saturday.

“They hit a bunch of threes in the first half and we didn’t. That was the difference,” Hayfield head coach Chris Pack said. “They’re so good defensively and you just don’t get any wide open looks. They pressure you when you get right across half court. We didn’t attack as well as we needed to in the first half. We did a great job in the second half, but we built to big of a deficit.”

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The Lions (28-1 overall), who have won 26 in a row, led by as many as 38-23 in the second half when Ethan Pack and Isaac Matti hit back-to-back threes to bring Hayfield within 38-29 with 10:31 left.

Hayfield (23-7 overall) pulled within 44-38 when Zander Jacobson scored with 5:48 left, but the Lions didn’t let up.

“They kept us at arm’s length the whole time,” Pack said. “In the last four minutes, it felt like time was our enemy.”

Spring Grove opened the game on a 15-5 run and Tyson Grinde hit three first half three-pointers to give the Lions a 26-14 advantage at the break.

Jacobson finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds.

Hayfield will graduate a highly successful class that includes Isaac Matti, who had 18 points, four rebounds and four assists, and Ethan Pack, who had four points.

“We told them they’re not defined by this game,” Chris Pack said. “We took everyone’s best shot this year and these guys have been together since first grade. These guys have accomplished more than almost every high school kid is going to get to do. When they have time to look back and reflect, they’re going to be pretty dang proud.”

Hayfield 14  32  –  46

SG 26  31  –  57

Hayfield scoring: Zander Jacobson, 22; Isaac Matti, 18; Ethan Pack, 4; Trent Jellum, 2