HIBBING — The first time the Hibbing High School boys basketball team got out of the first round of the North Star Hardwood Showcase with a win was back in 2016.
Last year, the Bluejackets had to play in the consolation round, which wasn’t their cup of tea.
So Hibbing did something about it, getting 22 points from Parker Maki, 16 from Mayson Brown and 15 from Ayden McDonald en route to a 78-66 victory over Owatonna Thursday at the Lincoln Gymnasium.
According to senior Jadyn Colbaugh, it was nice to get that first win out of the way.
“It’s really big, especially since we’ve been struggling to play defense,” Colbaugh said. “Coach has been getting on us. We’ve been getting better at it, but we still need to be better, especially today against Cambridge.”
Owatonna and Hibbing went back-and-forth in the first half, with the Huskies out in front by two late in the half.
In the last three minutes, the Bluejackets got baskets from Parker Maki and Trey Holmes in the final minute to take a 33-29 lead into halftime.
Hibbing came out in the second half and rained threes down on the Huskies.
The Bluejackets hit six-straight 3-pointers to start the half, including three by Mayson Brown and one each from Luke Lundell, Will Durie and Ayden McDonald.
“That was huge,” Colbaugh said. “Mayson got going and everyone else’s shots started falling in. It was huge.”
That gave the Bluejackets a big lift.
“Mayson, once he hit one, everyone else started going,” Colbaugh said.
Owatonna slowly crawled its way back into the game, cutting the deficit to seven, 53-46, with 11:40 to play.
“We knew we had to play defense and work as a team,” Colbaugh said. “We have to talk.”
The Huskies cut the deficit to four, 55-51, with just over eight minutes to play, but Hibbing extended the lead to nine, 67-58, with 5:30 to play.
McDonald hit a three to make it 70-58, then the Bluejackets ran some clock, got two free throws from Jadyn Colbaugh and Brown, plus a basket by Maki to seal the first-round contest.
“I liked the way we finished off the game,” Colbaugh said. “It probably could have been better with less turnovers at the end, but it worked out well.”
Luke Lundell hit for 10 points for Hibbing.
Evan Dushek had 16 for Owatonna, followed by Steven Eckard with 12, Jack Hanson 11 and Brydn Larson 10.
OHS 29 37 — 66
HHS 33 45 — 78
Owatonna: Braydn Larson 10, Jack Hanson 11, Payton Beyer 5, Nolan Burmeister 6, Steven Eckard 12, Evan Dushek 16, Lincoln Maher 2, Sol Havelka 4.
Hibbing: Tre Holmes 5, Jadyn Colbaugh 5, Mayson Brown 16, Parker Maki 22, Luke Lundell 10, Will Durie 5, Ayden McDonald 15.
Total Fouls: Owatonna 17; Hibbing 13; Fouled Out: None; Free Throws: Owatonna 4-6; Hibbing 14-18; 3-pointers: Larson 3, Hanson, Beyerd, Eckard 3, Holmes, Colbaugh, Brown 4, Lundell 2, Durie, McDonald 3.