MINNEAPOLIS — Henning boys basketball coach Randy Misegades got after his team at halftime of Thursday's Minnesota Class 1A quarterfinals when Christ’s Household of Faith’s McCalleb Alleman hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to cut the Henning lead to one. The Hornets received the message, as they clamped down on the Lions, securing a 63-56 win.
"We got on the kids because we felt we didn’t play well enough on the defensive end especially and that’s where it starts for us,” Misegades said. "We have to play defense and that transitions into offense. If we don’t guard people, we are going to struggle and that was the message."
The 3-pointer gave the Lions the lead and the momentum, but it was the grit and determination of the Hornets that pulled through when the game was on the line.
"I’m just proud of the kids for battling," Misegades said. "We didn’t play very well, to be quite honest. It was a game where we struggled on both ends of the floor. To find a way in March and especially at the state tournament, you never complain about getting a win."
Sam Fisher finished with 20 points to lead all scorers, including five key free throws in the closing seconds to stretch the lead for Henning. Parker Fraki finished with 16 points for the Hornets.
"Sam (Fisher) is our go-to guy, especially with free-throw shooting. He has done that all year long, especially in tight games," Misegades said. "He is the guy who has to get the ball and knock them down."
The Hornets shot just 27.3 percent from the 3-point line and started taking the ball to the hoop in the second half. Fisher said they needed to find a different way to score with their shots not falling.
"We usually shoot way better than that, but it wasn’t going," Fisher said. "We had to find a different way and we ended up pulling through."
The free-throw line played a key role in the second half. CHOF had opportunities to stretch the lead out when Henning found itself in foul trouble. The Lions miss eight of their 15 free throws. CHOF had a six-point lead in the second half, but four straight trips to the free-throw line only resulted in one point.
The Lions had opportunities to tie it at the line late in the second half, but Alleman missed the second of two free throws. During a tussle for the rebound, Alleman was called for a personal foul and whistled for a technical foul. It allowed Fraki to hit one free throw and Fisher to hit two, stretching a one-point lead to four, 58-54. Henning was able to close it out at the line, securing the 63-56 victory.
McCaleb Alleman led the way for CHOF with 16 points, Preston Alleman finished with 14. Erik Strandlund added 13 and Isaac Collins had 10.
The Hornets have dedicated this season to former teammate Jacob Quam, who died in a car crash in April of 2017. He would've been a senior captain on this team. The emotional run for the Hornets continues with an appearance in the state semifinals against Spring Grove, which upset No. 1 seed Springfield, 78-67.
"Every time I get a text or something, I’m crying again," Misegades said. "It definitely has put basketball in perspective. You all want to win and you want to compete, but at the end of the day, you have to realize there are a lot bigger things. We are getting to play a game we love and one of our teammates isn’t able to do that. We are trying to honor him with how we play and go hard every day."
Halftime: Henning 32, Christ's Household of Faith 31
CHOF: Erik Strandlund 13, Clay Bluhm 3, Isaac Collins 10, McCaleb Alleman 16, Preston Alleman 14.
HEN: Parker Fraki 16, Blake Wallevand 4, Isaac Fisher 7, Sam Fisher 20, Adam Lange 6, Lee Bjorklund 5, Luke Bjorklund 2, Dylan Trana 3.