Chieftains rout Polar Bears in opener of Tip-Off Classic

BASCOM — Playing with an edge and emotion early in the first quarter propelled Hopewell-Loudon to a blowout 74-29 win over Hardin Northern Friday night in the second game of the Chieftain Tip-Off Classic.

Before the game, H-L players and members of the Rainey family touched a plaque that was placed at the end of the Chieftains bench to remember team manager Cody Rainey, who passed away in a house fire earlier this year.

The Chieftains used all of the emotion to put together an impressive first quarter, outscoring the Polar Bears 24-6, and then added to it in the second to build a 39-12 halftime advantage.

The Chieftains surely came out #RaineyStrong.

Luke Bolte led H-L (1-0) with 17 points and eight rebounds, while Jordyn Jury added 17 points, seven assists and three steals.

“Our ball movement was great. We have a really unselfish group of kids and they’ve all worked really hard in the weight room. We are going to go through Luke a lot and he really opened things up for us at the beginning of the game by posting up. He is the same height as last year, but you can tell by looking at him he’s quite a bit bigger.

“He’s a great kid and he’s worked really hard inside. We can still always work on things, but I thought the ball movement was great and at halftime it was a goal in the second half to try to either score in transition or off assists. Those are going to be our two main ways of offense because we want to play fast.”

Hardin Northern (0-1) played better to start the second half as Logan Lease, the only senior on the roster, scored the first 10 points of the half for the Polar Bears. He ended the contest with a game-high 20 points.

“With our inexperience, we are still looking for that pace of play,” Hardin Northern coach Jared Thomas said. “They have a lot of travel kids on that team, especially one, and that pace is a lot different to you if you’re not a part of that culture, so our guys have to be exposed to that. It’s a lot of inexperience.

“Our offense for the most part will go through (Lease). The game would’ve been a lot closer if he knocks down some shots in the first half like he did in the second. He wants the ball and we will have to go through him a lot.”

H-L got some good looks in the paint as it shot 43 percent (29 of 68) from the floor, while it held Hardin Northern to 31 percent (13 of 42). The 26 more shot attempts came from causing 20 Polar Bear turnovers and out-rebounding them 41-23.

Other than Bolte and Jury, Travis Milligan and Carter Coffman both scored nine points, while Ethan Grieser and Alec Hoover had seven.

H-L will play Ridgedale in the championship game today at 1:30 p.m.