HNS works to strengthen regular season schedule

HARTINGTON — The basketball schedule at Hartington-Newcastle has been relatively the same for the past 20 years, but that’s about to change.
Principal Corey Uldrich thinks it’s time for a change.
HNS will now play Pierce, the Crofton girls, and they will now be going to the Stanton Holiday Tournament instead of the Creighton Holiday Tourney.
“We have a lot of Class D-1 schools on our schedule because that’s where we used to be too, but now we are in Class C-2 and it looks like it will stay that way for the foreseeable future,” said Uldrich.
Both coach Messersmith and Haselhorst are on board with the decision as this can help with better seeding in terms of Power Points, and can help prepare the Wildcat teams for post-season runs.
“I think it will be good to face some tougher competition,” said girls coach Marcus Messersmith. “When we played Crofton in the sub-district finals we competed for the first quarter then let the game get away from us so we couldn’t fight our way back. Hopefully facing some tougher competition will prepare the girls for tougher games so that they can have the confidence that they can beat anybody.”
The first challenge next season will be when the Wildcats face Pierce in the second week of the season.
“That Pierce game in the beginning of the season will absolutely be a good test to see where we stand early,” said boys head coach Nick Haselhorst. “Then a few weeks later we will play in the Stanton Holiday tournament before conference play starts and that should give us a good perspective at how our team matches up with tough competition.”
Uldrich admits this new scheduling may hurt the Wildcats some years, but he believes tougher competition will help build tougher teams in the long term.
“There may be some years where we don’t win these tough games and that will hurt our record, but it will also help build a program that can hopefully consistently win a couple of these games,” said Uldrich “You can learn much more from a close win or a close loss than you can from a blowout win and that’s what we are trying to do. Bring in better competition so that the kids can learn from these games and bring it into the next one.”
Currently there are still some other teams on the radar to try to work into future schedules, but that can be very tricky, he said.
“We would love to get Winnebago on our schedule,” said Uldrich. “They are in our conference but are in a different division and they could provide some great games. It just becomes difficult when you only have a couple possible dates to fit a game in because if they don’t have those same dates available then it just falls through.”
It is also on the table to play a team in South Dakota like Vermillion or Yankton.
“Vermillion is close enough for us that it would still be reasonable to try to get a game there,” said Messersmith. “Even though they are a much bigger school we should still be able to compete with them.”
So far it looks like Pierce, the Crofton girls and the Stanton Holiday Tournament will be the only changes to the schedule for this next year, but Uldrich said this will be an ongoing process and Hartington-Newcastle will continue to look at strengthening their athletic schedule to help improve their teams.