Nelson era begins
By Jarann Johnson
The first game of the year is always one that fans, players and coaches anticipate with excitement. But when something new is thrown in like a new coach or transfer student, that excitement and anticipation jumps up to another level.
The Hazen gym was fully seated and interested in their boys’ basketball season-opener and new Head Coach Ben Nelson’s plans for the season. The home fans we rewarded with a season-opening win, 72-59, but in the first half it didn’t look like a win was coming.
For one half it seemed like the adjustment to Nelson was a bit odd for the Hazen Bison. The Bison were missing easy shots and playing a little bit too fast, causing them to turn the ball over, and trailed 32-36 at halftime.
Once the second half started it seemed like the Bison and Nelson figured things out. The Bison started the third quarter on a 9-0 run, capped by a nice assist from Connor Doll, senior point guard, to Seth Kreil, senior post.
The 9-0 run gave the Bison a 33-32 lead but, within a finger snap, the Bison’s lead was gone. Bishop Ryan junior forward Caden Upton made a 3-pointer, re-giving Bishop Ryan the lead, 35-33.
The game stayed nearly tied the rest of third quarter until Hazen sophomore Wyatt Carr started to become a matchup problem for Bishop Ryan. Hazen was ahead by one point when Carr made a shot and drew a foul, giving Hazen a 42-40 lead.
Carr didn’t make the free throw, but Kreil was there for the put back score and added two more points. Quickly after Kreil’s basket Carr struck again for two points, making the score 46-39 and forcing Bishop Ryan to call timeout.
Ryan tried to counter after the timeout but Hazen junior guard Chase Bruner added two more points, making the score 48-39.