Oliver Hasler had a career game with 26 points against Hermantown last winter and it helped Duluth East to a 79-60 victory.
Coach Rhett McDonald isn’t counting on Hasler, who’s now a senior, to be the difference this year as the Greyhounds (6-3) try to extend their winning streak against the Hawks (8-2, 3-0) to three games.
Hasler is not among the Greyhounds’ scoring leaders. He comes off the bench while Will Van Scoy (13.1 ppg), Isiah Hendrickson (12.7 ppg) and Noah Winesett (11.9 ppg) handle the bulk of the scoring. Anyway, McDonald is more concerned about rebounding and defense against a big Hawks lineup.
“We will need to find ways to stop both Connor Birch (a 6-7 senior averaging 25.2 points and 9 rebounds per game) and Peter Soumis (19.7 ppg and 9 assists per game),” McDonald said via email. “Both kids are probably the best at their position in the Northland.”
Hermantown reached the state tournament last season after a 1-6 start, but the Hawks appear to be taking a more probable path to their third state berth in five seasons this time.
“It will come down to the defensive end,” McDonald said. “If we can keep them away from the rim and rebound … I think we will have a chance.”