Wadena-Deer Creek fights hard, but falls to Class A juggernaut Hancock

At one point, Wadena-Deer Creek boys basketball team led 40-32 before Hancock stormed back to win 70-59 at the Guaranteed Rate Crossover Classic in Perham at The Hive.

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Wadena-Deer Creek'sv Josiah Kallevig, left, goes up for a block on Hancock's Matt Thompson at the Guaranteed Rate Crossover Classic on Jan. 15, 2022 at The Hive in Perham. Jonah Bowe / Forum News Service

The Wadena-Deer Creek boys basketball team faced Hancock in a tight game on Saturday morning but couldn't quite come out on top in a contest that came down to the final minutes.

The Wolverines (4-7) took last year's Class A state tournament runner-up Owls (7-4), fronted by 6-foot, 8-inch senior Matt Thompson, at the Guaranteed Rate Crossover Classic basketball showcase in Perham. The Owls staged a late comeback to win 70-59 after the Wolverines led by as many as eight points.

Hancock jumped out to an early lead in the first half, with good ball movement and shooting outside the perimeter by Thompson and Owls' sophomore Hudson Ver Steeg.

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Payton Rondestvedt pushes toward the basket for Wadena in a tight game against Hancock on Saturday morning. (Jonah Bowe/Pioneer Journal)


The Wolverines would fight back and take their first lead of the game with three minutes remaining in the half after Payton Rondestvedt drilled a shot in the paint. Peyton Church followed with three-pointer to take a 26-23 lead into the half.

Sophomore point guard Teshome Loer led the Wolverines in scoring in the first half with eight points and moved the ball well. Ver Steeg led the Owls in the first half with seven points.

The Wolverines dictated the pace in the second half and the lead and held onto their lead. Rondestvedt, Church and Loer continued to move the ball very well as WDC would pull ahead as far as 40-32 before the Owls came flying back.

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Wolverine sophomore Teshome Loer attempts a layup over Zachary Koehl of the Hancock Owls. (Jonah Bowe/Pioneer Journal)

Thompson drained a three-pointer to even the game at 40 for Hancock, which capped off an 8-0 run. The Wolverines responded with a six point run, but Ver Steeg would halted WDC's momentum with three straight three-pointers for the Owls. WDC's Josiah Kallevig tied the game 49-49 befoore Hancock finished the afternoon on a 21-10 run.

Hancock responded by finishing the second half by using their size advantage and aggressiveness to go on a tear in the final four minutes. Thompson scored 17 second-half points for the Owls, while Ver Steeg had 14. Hancok's two standout scorers proved to be too much for the Wolverines to overcome in an 11-point defeat.


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Peyton Church drains a three-pointer for Wadena in Perham Saturday morning. (Jonah Bowe/Pioneer Journal)

Peyton Church led the Wolverines in scoring on the day with 19 points. Rondestvedt had 16 points, while Loer had 12. Matt Thompson led the Owls with 23 points on the day. Ver Steeg finished with 21 points while junior Jackson Koehl had 13 points.

Saturday's loss capped off a four-game week for WDC. The Wolverines will face off next against Verndale in Wadena on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

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