The Rhinebeck Hawks hosted Highland in their last home game of the season on Feb. 20, with a larger-than-normal crowd in attendance for the match. The student cheering section provided plenty of background noise for the Hawks even as they went down to defeat, 51-28.
“It was good to have the crowd there, I’m sure the team liked it,” Rhinebeck head coach David Aierstok told The Observer.
The Hawks played their best ball in the first minutes. Luke Matthews had a pair of threes, one at 7:55 and the other under pressure at 7:29, to put the Hawks up 6-0 in the first minute. Purple pushed the ball well in the first quarter, but lost the lead at 4:26. Highland went on an 18-0 scoring run from 7:29 to 1:01, when Rhinebeck’s Josh Hanaburgh managed a bucket in the paint. Purple left the quarter losing 18-8.
The situation did not improve in the second period. The Hawks gave up five straight offensive rebounds to Highland from 2:20 to 1:20. The Huskies scored 12 points in the quarter, and went into the locker room with a 30-13 lead at the half.
Rhinebeck managed to play with more confidence in the third, thanks in no small part to the defense and rebounding of senior Andy Chardavoine and Highland’s inability to get a lucky roll. Hanaburgh managed four points on the quarter, including a basket in the lane at 6:15 and two sunk free throws at 3:47. Rhinebeck’s Eric Rodriguez also scored on a baseline floater at 1:10. The third was the only quarter in which the Hawks outscored the Huskies, pacing them 6-5.
Purple came out with a vengeance in the fourth, moving the ball well on the perimeter and committing to tougher defense, but it wasn’t enough. Highland put down 16 points in the quarter to Rhinebeck’s eight. Rhinebeck’s Rodriguez and Sam Tigges both had threes in the quarter, Nick Hoynes scored a two point field goal, and Henke converted one free throw.
“We had a good quarter in the third, but what we needed that effort throughout the whole game and it wasn’t there,” Aierstok said after the contest.
Highland’s Travis Marnell led all scorers with 11 points; Matthews led Rhinebeck with six.