The beauty of an early-season tournament is the opportunity to quickly bounce back from a loss. Hug took advantage of that opportunity Friday afternoon.
Sam Williams scored 26 points to help the Hawks keep alive their chances of playing for the Wild West Shootout championship with a 56-48 victory over Mountain View (Ariz.) at Bishop Manogue.
The win came less than 24 hours after Hug suffered its first loss of the year in a 12-point defeat to Galena.
“The feeling of being able to come back here and bounce back is great,” Williams said. “Basketball is a day-to-day thing. You can erase everything that’s happened before with a win, as my coach tells me. That’s what we came in and tried to do.
“We came ready to play. We were more focused on what we had to do.”
The Hawks (5-2) will face Mountain View at 1 p.m. today, with the winner advancing to the 7 p.m. championship game against either Galena or Bishop Gorman.
“We’re going to take it one game at a time, but we would love to play in that championship game,” Hug coach Keith Crawford said.
To do that, Hug must resemble the Friday version of itself. Not Thursday’s version.
“I recognized this Hug team today. We were a little bit more composed today. (Thursday) we were just in a hurry to win the game or make plays,” Crawford said.
“Today, our defense took them out of what they wanted to do. And Sam was Sam Williams tonight. Sam came to play ball. Sam listened to the coaching staff. When Sam does that, he’s a tough matchup for anybody.”
Behind a strong third quarter from Williams, Hug built an 11-point lead. But Mountain View closed the quarter on a 6-0 run after Williams went to the bench for a breather.
The Toros, who were led by Payton Dastrup’s 28 points, then scored the first six points of the fourth to take the lead. It was a back-and-forth game from there until Williams sank a 3-pointer from the left corner to give Hug a 51-48 lead with 1:57 to play.
Williams scored five points, had a steal and a rebound in the final 2 minutes.
“I was more patient and focused than (Thursday),” Williams said. “I learned a lot about what I have to do to help my team become successful. Sometimes teams get really antsy and clinch up in a close game like that. But we had to stay calm, and I knew we could do it.”
GALENA 71, BISHOP MANOGUE 49: Caleb Wood hit four 3s and scored 19 points as the Grizzlies blew open what was a five-point game at halftime with a 19-4 third quarter.
Galena will face Bishop Gorman at 11 a.m. today.
“I’m excited about it,” Wood said of facing the defending state champion Gaels. “It’s going to be good competition, and we’ll see how we do.”
Kirk Gunderson added 17 points, and EJ Poulsen had 10 for Galena (5-0).
James Sandoval scored 21 for the Miners, who face Douglas in a consolation game.