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Nuggets left short-handed Saturday after four players quit Friday

Hawley boys basketball coach Jed Carlson (kneeling at center) was without four key players Saturday against Crookston. David Samson / The Forum

HAWLEY, Minn. – There are 13 players listed on the Hawley boys basketball team’s roster. Nearly one-third of those players quit Friday.

Two junior starters – forward Jordan Harms and guard Dawson Tusow – and reserve guards Chad Clute and Ben Steichen all left the team Friday.

“Don’t mean to let any of you down, but I had enough of being pushed around,” Steichen wrote on Twitter on Friday.

Hawley coach Jed Carlson would not comment on the situation Saturday, although he did acknowledge those four players had quit the team.

“I think it’s a test for the remaining guys,” Carlson said after Hawley’s 63-51 win over Crookston on Saturday. “There’s tough choices out there, but I’m very proud of the locker room.”

Hawley went 29-2 last season, falling to Perham in the subsection finals in Class 2A, Section 8. Hawley went 25-2 in the regular season, winning the Heart O’ Lakes Conference with an 11-1 conference record, good enough for a No. 2 ranking in Class 2A.

This season, with three starters from last season returning, Hawley is 8-9 overall and fourth in both conference and subsection standings at 5-3 and 7-4, respectively.

Those expecting a funeral for the Hawley basketball team Saturday got a surprise. The Nuggets dominated a 15-5 Crookston team, never trailing and leading by as many as 13 in the second half.

“It’s a team win, whether or not who is there or who is not doesn’t matter,” said Hawley’s leading scorer Ben Ellefson, who finished with 25 points and 15 rebounds. “I don’t have anything else to say about that.”

Hawley athletic director Brett Schmidt would also not comment on the situation.

“I don’t know enough about it and there’s more we have to find out,” Schmidt said. “I’m actually out of town. I have nothing to say right now because I’m not there and I’m not directly involved.”

The three remaining Hawley starters didn’t allow Crookston a chance to come back. Outside of Ellefon’s double-double were 12 points from senior guard Dalton Leaf and 11 points from junior guard Dillon Omberg.

No one told them they were playing short-handed against a team that had won eight of its last nine.

“That was a total team win,” Carlson said. “I’m proud of everybody in the locker room. The effort was there. We played hard and we played for each other, and I’m just proud of my guys.”

Half: H 23, C 18

C: Desrosier 7, Porter 9, Garmen 1, Hollcrast 6, Miller 2, Hefta 9, McCullough 17.

H: Leaf 12, Omberg 11, Ellefson 25, Teeples 5, Thompson 5, Regnier 5.

Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy is a sports reporter for the Forum. He's covered high school and college sports in Chicago, North Dakota and Minnesota since 2009 and, for some reason, has been given awards for doing so.

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