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Red Wing senior Luke Bryant goes up for a layup Saturday at the Target Center. He had 19 points as the Wingers defeated Hastings 79-66. Photo by Chris Harrell

Boys Basketball: Red Wing outmuscles Hastings at the Target Center

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MINNEAPOLIS - Defense was under attack Saturday when Red Wing and Hastings faced off at the Target Center.

The Wingers slowed the Raiders in the first half but struggled to make a single stop in the second half. Hastings had difficulty stopping Red Wing at all.

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The Raiders' outside shooting bridged the gap between them and the Wingers' athleticism, but Red Wing got to the free-throw line over and over to secure a 79-66 victory.

"I thought offensively we played really well," Wingers' head coach Doug Toivonen said. "We did a good job attacking the basket. They were scrambling."

Red Wing (13-11) shot 27 of 39 from the free-throw line and was in the bonus for more than 20 minutes in Saturday's victory. The Wingers also held a 36-19 rebounding advantage with 18 offensive rebounds.

Hastings had trouble dealing with Ty Buck's strength, and his aggressiveness down the stretch kept the Red Wing in the lead. He led the Wingers with 24 points, four rebounds, two assists and two blocks.

"They tried to be really physical with him," Toivonen said. "He did a good job keeping his composure."

Buck took little time getting into rhythm, scoring 12 first-half points as Red Wing established a 32-15 with 6 minutes, 3 seconds remaining in the first half, its biggest of the night. Then, the Wingers went cold, making one field goal the rest of the half and taking a 35-23 lead into halftime.

Coming out of the break, senior Luke Bryant was all the offense Red Wing needed. Normally a defensive specialist, Bryant scored the Wingers' first 10 points of the second half on five layups and finished with 19 points on 7-for-8 shooting.

"We did a better job of spreading the floor out," Bryant said. "That makes it a lot easier to drive. They were hitting tough shots but we responded on the offensive end. If we don't score, they're right back in it."

Bryant's outburst was all the more important as the Raiders' offense found success all over the court in the second half. Dribble drives and kick outs, post entries and pull-up jump shots were all falling as Hastings whittled Red Wing's lead to 49-43 with 10:30 remaining in regulation.

"We started giving up a little too much penetration," Toivonen said. "We talked about trying to take some charges. In the first half, we took them out of what they wanted to do but in the second half, they got where they wanted to go."

Buck appeared frustrated during the Raiders' comeback, but it quickly turned to positive aggression on the offensive end of the court.

"They came down and hit a bunch of shots," Buck said. "It's frustrating but you got to put your head down, attack and get to the rim (on offense)."

After two free throws by Bryant, Hastings pulled back within six points on a basket by Craig Nielsen but the Raiders never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.

Sam Skoyen led Hastings with 20 points on 7 of 10 shooting and Drew Pottinger added 13 points and five rebounds. Nielson and Ross Dylla each had 11 points in the Raiders' 18th consecutive loss.

Buck and Bryant were the only players to score in double figures for the Wingers as nine players scored in the game.

Red Wing plays New Prague Tuesday in Red Wing. The Trojans defeated the Wingers 61-54 Jan. 31 in New Prague.

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Chris Harrell
Chris Harrell is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he interned at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and The Daily Caller in Washington, D.C. For updates on local sports, follow Chris on Twitter at @RECHarrell.
(651) 301-7879
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