With wins over Tiffin and Ohio Dominican last week, the Hillsdale men’s basketball team continued to show that it is determined to dominate the division.
On Thursday, the Chargers took on the Tiffin Dragons and, in a solid home court performance, came out on top 80 – 63. It was Hillsdale’s pinpoint shooting that sealed the team’s victory. Converting on 55% of their shots from the floor, the Chargers had four players score in double figures. Senior center Nick Washburn led the team with 19 points, seven rebounds, and two blocked shots. With 14 points, eight rebounds, and four assists, junior forward Tim Dezelski also pulled through with an all-around exceptional showing. Junior guard Brandon Pritzl put up another 14 points, while junior forward Tony Nelson came off the bench with a phenomenal 12-point performance.
“It was one of the better start-to-finish games that we’ve had,” head coach John Tharp said. “When you shoot 55%, you hold the other team to 41%, and you win the boards, those are positive numbers for us.”
Though Saturday’s game at Ohio Dominican was one they had trouble starting, the Chargers made clutch plays in the second half and pulled away with a 75 – 64 win.
Finding themselves in a 14-point rut early into the second half thanks to poor ball control and a weak presence on the boards, Hillsdale was able to bounce back with the help of offensive juggernauts Pritzl and Dezelski. Pritzl scored a career-high 24 points on 4 – 6 shooting and Dezelski had 25 points on 9 – 15 shooting.
“Saturday’s game was a battle,” Pritzl said. “It was a very physical game throughout and got a bit chippy. It wasn’t our best game defensively but we made some adjustments in the second half and got into a rhythm offensively and ended up pulling out a tough road win.”
It was also a big night for Washburn, whose eight points made him the 33rd player in the history of Hillsdale men’s basketball to score 1,000 or more points.
“We’re thankful for what Nick has done for this program,” Tharp said. “We wouldn’t be 15 – 6 without him.”
The Chargers are going into a bit of a home stretch this week where they will play at Lake Erie on Thursday and Ashland on Saturday, both at home. Coach Tharp stressed that Hillsdale’s success hinges on controlling the basketball and bringing down rebounds as both Lake Erie and Ashland have aggressive styles of play that make for hard-fought contests.
“These next two games are big games for us,” Washburn said. “When it gets deep into the season it is always important that you are not losing games because of your own mistakes. Therefore we are constantly improving ourselves first and then looking to our opponent. It is important that we play our best basketball at the right time, and I feel like that time is coming very soon.”