Connor Bich and Peter Soumis combined for 50 points — with Soumis also drilling a three-point, game-winning basket at the buzzer — en route to a stunning, 79-76 high school boys basketball home victory over Grand Rapids on Tuesday night.
Hawks boys basketball coach Andy Fenske the already-historic win and the overall play of his 11-4 team:
On the Bich-Soumis tandem: “They’re a deadly combination. Soumis is tough to stop because he can shoot from the outside, drives the lane, finishes around the rim and pulls up on you in an instant. He’s also got tremendous court awareness. Bich plays the game inside-out. He can shoot the ball. He started out as 6-foot freshman guard and has grown into his body.”
On the rise of the Hawks’ program, now one of the best in Minnesota: “Record wise, we’re obviously significantly better than the last two years. The kids have built a trust in each other. This group thrives on finding ways to improve their team and individual games. We have a lot of pieces back from last season’s state tournament team, and all the guys have risen to a new, higher challenge.”
On the Hawks’ approach: “We play fast and like to shoot. It’s a style that I enjoy coaching and I know the boys thoroughly enjoy playing. Playing the up-tempo offense, we’re willing to give up a few more transition points to outscore the other team. The more possessions we get, the better off we’re going to be. So as well as we shoot, we want to have the ball in our hands as many times as possible.”
On the Hawks’ challenge down the stretch: “Yeah, it doesn’t get easier from here. We play (Grand) Rapids again, and they’re a top team in our section. We host (Duluth) East (Friday), then we visit Proctor, (Duluth) Denfeld and Bemidji, a top-10 team in the state. Tartan, a top-10 4A team, comes here. It’s not going to be an easy February or even end of January for us, to be sure. But we want to play the best competition heading into the post-season. We’re almost to our first conference championship — knock on wood — and will look to defend our section title.”
HAWKS’ REMAINING REGULAR SEASON GAMES
Friday — host Duluth East, 7:15 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 29 — at Duluth Denfeld, 7:15 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 2 — at Bemidji, 2 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 5 — at Proctor, 7:15 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 7 — at Duluth Marshall, 7:15 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 12 — host Princeton, 7:15 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 19 — at Grand Rapids, 715 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 22 — host Tartan, 7:15 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 28 — at Hibbing, 7:15 p.m.
Hermantown Schools photo: Peter Soumis driving the lane for a basket against the Thunderhawks on Tuesday night.