Berkshire vs. Chardon boys basketball: Hasting fuels Badgers' offense as defense forces 18 turnovers in 68-52 victory

Feb. 3—Berkshire and Chardon each started slowly in their nonconference clash on Feb. 3. But the Badgers got things going midway through the first quarter, and the offense was clicking.

They had four players finish in double figures and the Badgers came away with a 68-52 victory.

Berkshire improved to 7-9 and has won four of its last five. Chardon fell to 4-11.

The Badgers had a 7-6 lead midway through the first, and once Jack Hastings started scoring, his teammates followed. Hastings had 15 points in the first half and sparked a double-digit lead for a majority of the rest of the contest.

Hastings didn't hit a 3-pointer in the contest, but his drives either ended in a layup or a trip to the free-throw line, where he made all nine of his shots.

"I have a quick first step and that is really hard for people to guard," Hastings said. "I don't shoot a ton of 3s but when teams leave me open I've made them this year. That opens up my inside game and I prefer to be on the drive rather than shoot when I have the option to do either or."

He finished with 27 points to lead the Badgers. Berkshire has won four of its last five and held a strong Cuyahoga Heights team to 41 points. Montanaro said the recent stretch is a big turning point of the season.

"When you have a player like he is that is making shots, it gives everyone confidence," Montanaro said. "Everyone starts to play harder and it also translated over to the defensive end as well. We knew they were going to try and face guard him and we've seen that a few other times this season. We adapted to that a lot better than in times past."

With Hastings handling the scoring duties, his teammates impacted the game on defense. Berkshire forced 18 turnovers with several in the backcourt.

The Badgers have found a strong pace on defense with different back court combinations able to create transition offense. Hastings the hard work in practice is paying off.

"A lot of the credit goes to our guards," Hastings said. "They work so hard every day. We started to do the press this year and they've been working on it all season. We see the turnover battle as just as important as the score. If we win the turnover battle, it's a lot harder for us to lose a game."

The Badgers also had three other players in double figures with Gavin Hipp, Cameron Beam and Mason Mendolera with 10 points a piece. They combined for 17 points in the second half, with Hipp having eight of his in that half.

Montanaro highlighted Hipp, in particular, on his ability to get to the basket.

"Gavin is all about confidence," Montanaro said. "When he is playing confident, you can see that in the drive to the basket. Early in the game he stood from beyond the arc and just shot the ball. We've worked a lot on the drive to the basket and he's improved in that part of his game a lot since the start of the year"

Chardon was led by Sammy Sulka with 14 points and Carson Frost with 12.

Berkshire remains out of conference as it hosts Andrews Osborne on Feb. 6. Chardon returns to WRC play with a trip to Mayfield on the same date.