BASCOM - The Hopewell-Loudon plan for Mohawk was a Throwback Night here Friday.
The Mayan plan for everyone was a Throw-it-all-in Night everywhere Friday.
As for Chieftain coach Adam Smith, that commemorative sport coat he threw on and threw off just for this occasion might well become standard dress if it comes with performances like his team put together in scoring a 59-40 Midland Athletic League win.
"Who knows? It might be good luck," the third-year coach said.
Hopewell-Loudon shot 55 percent from the field, including a 12-for-18 effort in the second half on the way to becoming the first Chieftain team in 30 years to open the season with a 5-1 record.
Back in those days, they played their games on a stage-style gym with theater seating. Smith had an idea for one more game on the old floor before most of the current school building is razed in favor of a new facility to open next year.
He said there had been an agreement for a game with the Warriors in place but that the plan fell through this week amid Mohawk officials' concerns regarding safety.
After a tight first period in which Hopewell-Loudon eased ahead 14-12, the Chieftains never looked more at home on the floor of second choice.
Alec Gregg scored on a baseline drive and Ryan Lommerse hit a foul-line jumper to get it started. Weston Hill, Adam Black and Garret Sendelbach also got into the scoring act in a 13-4 H-L burst in the first five minutes of the second period.
"We played pretty well except we missed I don't know how many bunnies," said Smith, whose club improved to 2-1 in league play while dropping Mohawk to 1-3 overall, 1-2 in the MAL. "We executed pretty well except for finishing our layups and hitting some free throws. We got exactly what we wanted out of the offense."
Meanwhile, the Warriors were suffering through their worst shooting performance of the year. Mohawk hit just 6-of-26 in the first half and was 15-for-58 for the game. The even quarters were especially troublesome as the Warriors managed to get just 5-of-32 shots to fall.
"Our effort usually is what gets us going, our presses etc," first-year coach John Arnold said. "Tonight, we just seemed a little down. The coaches and I talked about it at halftime and it just seemed like, in their eyes, we weren't ready. That's on me as a coach; we have to have them ready."
With a 28-18 halftime edge, the Chieftains took their game inside for the second half. Sophomore post Tyler Imes, who had four points early before drawing his second foul, added eight more points in the third period, even with getting his third personal 57 seconds into the second half.
"I told Tyler this week, 'You are averaging almost a point-a-minute, but the problem is you're in so much foul trouble, you're never on the floor,'" Smith said. "Yeah, he picked up his third but at some point, I just felt like we had to let him try to get a little rhythm."
Imes led a balanced H-L attack with 14 points. Sendelbach and Lommerse came off the bench to contribute 13 and nine points, respectively, while Gregg had 11 points with six assists.
"Their big guys are tough," Arnold said. "We're a little undersized so we knew that would be an issue. The one positive I felt about tonight is we did a good job on Alec Gregg. He's an unbelievable player - very, very talented. We did a good job of holding his scoring under control but their big guys came back to hurt us."
Drew Loose topped the Warriors with 20 points, including three 3-pointers. Grant Ekleberry added nine but from there, the Mohawk scoring dropped all the way to four points by Mitch Parker.
Parker's basket to open the fourth period trimmed the lead to 40-31, but the Chieftains scored 10 straight over the next four minutes to put the game out of reach.
At the one-minute mark, Smith took off this jacket in a sort of a tribute to the old days. Long-time Chieftain coach Ron Jump, who later served as the school's superintendent, started the routine of removing his jacket when a H-L victory was considered to be well in hand.
"The jacket was for the game in the old gym, but I decided to go with it anyhow," Smith said.
A new old tradition may be dawning.