Through two games in 2016-17, reigning College Court Report Player of the Year Quinton Hooker has picked up right where he left off a season ago. He’s showing everyone exactly why they voted for him in the first place, and the North Dakota Fighting Hawks are soaring high because of it.
In the Fighting Hawks’ season opener on Friday against Crown College, Hooker recorded 17 points and 2 rebounds in North Dakota’s 98=48 victory.
On Tuesday night, the Hawks were back on the court, this time taking on the Mayville State Comets. A familiar face was back in the starting lineup, as sophomore guard Geno Crandall was making his season debut after missing the opener.
Despite having several days off in between games to open the year, the Fighting Hawks showed little signs of rust. They were able to shake off a slow start and use a balanced scoring attack to come away victorious in the end.
North Dakota pulled away in the second half, coming away with the 94-66 win over Mayville State.
Early on, Mayville State was right with the Fighting Hawks, giving them everything they could handle, and then some. It was a back-and-forth affair for the first eight-plus minutes, with both teams trading baskets.
Mayville State was able to open up a six-point lead of their own, with a jumper from Ben Maranan giving them a 19-13 lead with 11:37 to play in the opening half.
Hooker responded with a jumper of his own for the Fighting Hawks just 20 seconds later, and back came North Dakota. They were able to eliminate the lead, and the teams would proceed to swap leads as the first half wound down.
With 2:59 showing on the clock in the opening half, Drick Bernstine got a layup to fall that gave North Dakota a slim 33-31 lead.
They would hold that lead for the rest of the game.
North Dakota took an eight-point lead into the break, at 43-35, and would only add to it as the second half ticked away. Mayville State was able to get within striking distance on a pair of occasions early in the half, but North Dakota proved to be too much on this night.
Four players scored in double-figures for the Fighting Hawks, and 11 of the 12 players who saw action on the night scored at least two points, and North Dakota came away with the 94-66 win over Mayville State.
Senior Quinton Hooker led the way for the Fighting Hawks,scoring a game-high 30 points to go along with 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. It was his fifth-career 30-point game.
Start the campaign early for Quinton Hooker to repeat as College Court Report Player of the Year.
Drick Bernstine (10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists), Geno Crandall (11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists), and Carson Shanks (11 points, 4 blocks) were the others to score in double-figures on the night.
Conor Quinn led the way for the Comets, scoring a team-high 17 points in just 19 minutes of action, going 5-of-6 from three point range on the night. Aidan Quinn chipped in with 10 points, while Garek Droog led all Mayville State starters with 13.
While they haven’t faced top-tier opponents, the North Dakota Fighting Hawks (2-0, 0-0) have built up some positive momentum against quality non-Division I programs. They will look to keep their momentum going on Sunday, when they take on Presentation College.
– T. Bennett