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Eagles soar past Okarche

February 04, 2024 - 00:00
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Third-quarter run gives Hennessey big boost in conference race

  • Eagles soar past Okarche
    HENNESSEY’S JAEL TORRES goes up for two of his 21 points in Thursday’s win over Okarche. [Photo by Chris Simon/]
  • Eagles soar past Okarche
    HUNTER WEBER’S teammates react as he gets ready to knock down one of his 3-pointers during Hennessey’s pivotal third quarter stretch on Thursday. [Photo by Chris Simon/www.simon- sports-photos.smugmug. com]

Riding the wave of a massive third quarter, Hennessey took a big step in winning the Three Rivers Conference regular season title.

The Eagles overwhelmed visiting Okarche with a barrage of buckets in the pivotal quarter to completely flip the game, then held on for a 64-60 victory at the Eagle Event Center.

“We had a couple of guys get hot and start knocking down some shots in the third,” said Hennessey coach Brady Page.

“That was the difference.”

He was referencing Garett Vinson and Hunter Weber, who combined for three 3-pointers and 17 points in the quarter.

That allowed the Eagles to turn a three-point halftime deficit into a 49-33 advantage entering the fourth quarter.

Weber hit two of those treys and then added another early in the fourth to push the lead to 52-33 with 7:05 to play.

That’s when Okarche started to climb its way back into it.

Just as Hennessey scored 27 points in the third, the Warriors did the same in the fourth.

Easton Roby’s putback with 2:08 to go made it a 10-point ballgame.

Jett Mueggenborg added a 3-pointer with 29 seconds to go to get it to single digits, then had another three-point play with 13 seconds left to make it a two-possession game.

Hennessey’s Camdyn Richardson all but put it out of reach three seconds later by making 1 of 2 free throws, though Wyatt Pinkerton did knock down one more 3-pointer for Okarche in the closing seconds.

While the third quarter was huge for Hennessey, Okarche coach Aaron West said the game truly started to turn in the second quarter.

Richardson was facing foul trouble and had to sit out for a significant stretch in the quarter.

“We didn’t score for five minutes,” West said. “We didn’t execute so we didn’t capitalize.”

Okarche owned a large part of the first half.

Pinkerton and Hunter Mueggenborg combined for 13 points in the first quarter during which the Warriors were controlling the tempo and led by as many as eight.

The lead was as much as nine in the second quarter before Hennessey settled in.

Jael Torres made two free throws with 2:31 to go in the half to give the Eagles a one-point lead.

Pinkerton’s second trey of the half put Okarche back up and the Warriors led 25-22 at halftime.

Pinkerton added three more 3-pointers in the second half and scored 18 for Okarche.

Jett Mueggenborg finished with 19. “They loosened up in the third and we didn’t respond,” West said.

The Warriors had a tough time managing Torres in the paint.

He scored at least four points every quarter and led all scorers with 21.

Weber made four treys and scored 19.

Vinson had all nine of his points in the third while James Sims and Richardson scored seven apiece.

Hennessey moved to 18-2 overall and 5-0 in the conference with a big showdown looming at Fairview on this Thursday.

The Yellowjackets are 3-0 and still have a game left not only with the Eagles, but also with Okarche.

The Warriors are 18-4 and 3-1.

The game was the second massive showdown in three days for Okarche.

They hosted Class B’s top-ranked Calumet on Tuesday and saw their 13game win streak come to an end, 55-51.

The Chieftains, Class B runners-up last season, were 24-0 after the win.

In a battle of wills, the Chieftains were able to slow down Okarche just enough to keep their record unblemished.

“We were too jacked up in that first quarter,” said West of his team falling behind 15-9.

Okarche kept it close and had the game knotted up at 39-39 entering the fourth quarter.

“We didn’t cover them right and they had backto- back 3’s to start the fourth,” West said. “That hurt us.”

West credited the Chieftains’ defense, which held Okarche to 35.5 percent shooting. That included a 4 of 24 (16.7 percent) clip from 3-point range.

Hunter Arnold led the Chieftains with 24 points.

Okarche got 15 points and nine boards from Roby while Caden Schieber scored 12.

“It was a good battle and a good atmosphere,” West said. “We just came up a bit short.”