|Dragons bow out to Tigers in opening round of districts|
|Written by Chris Lee|
Entering the Class 2A District 2 tournament as the No. 4 seed Tuesday, Feb. 22, the Holyoke Dragons were looking to grab a win against No. 5 Wiggins to secure a spot in the regional tournament. But, the Tigers had plans of their own.
Wiggins jumped ahead early, Holyoke climbed back, Wiggins built a bigger lead and again the home team fought back. However, it wasn’t enough as the Dragons saw their season come to an abrupt end falling 62-70 to the visiting Tigers.
The Dragons and Tigers split their regular season games, with Wiggins taking the first game 48-44 and Holyoke the second, 61-54. Holyoke ended the season with a 9-10 record.
Brian DeBoer pulls down a rebound under the Wiggins basket during
“I’m super proud of the boys for their effort,” coach Scott Dille said. “They played hard and did everything we asked them to do. Wiggins just made shots. It’s hard to counter that. They shot better than they have all year.”
Nearly half the Tigers’ points came from beyond the arc last Tuesday. The visitors sunk 10 shots from downtown. Six of those came during a 25-point third-quarter effort. Holyoke fans are accustomed to seeing the team in green get hot from three-point land, but last Tuesday was a different story.
Wiggins held an 18-13 advantage after the opening period, but just as they have all season, the Dragons fought back to take a two-point, 27-25, lead into the locker room.
The big difference in the ball game can be narrowed down to the third stanza when Wiggins outscored the home team 25-13.
Desperate to advance further into the postseason, Holyoke needed a strong fourth quarter—and they almost pulled it off. With just under two minutes left, the Dragons were down by four. They pulled within two with 49 seconds left but were forced to foul to save the clock. Wiggins made all 14 free throws they attempted in the final quarter which helped propel them to the win.
Austin Killin goes up for two of his nine points against Wiggins
“I felt that game showed the character of the kids,” Dille said. “They played hard and battled no matter what the score was.”
Four Dragons finished in double digits with Brian DeBoer scoring 16, Julian Titze 13, Reid Baumgartner 12 and Alex Quintana 10.
When looking back at the season, Dille said the team reacted well to some changes they made early on. He also noted how fun it was to see how close the group became. “They are a tight-knit and selfless group,” he said. “I was really proud of how coachable the kids were.”
The coach noted the leadership of the upperclassmen was priceless. “They kind of stepped up and set the tone for the whole season.”