The Waupaca boys’ basketball team has faced a handful of outstanding players so far this season.
In the Eastern Valley Conference, there’s Little Chute’s Turner Botz and Kenneth Lowe, Berlin’s Toby Hegner, Ripon’s Bryce Baumann and Winneconne’s Dylan Hecker.
Add Austin Hawkins to that list, too.
The Auburndale senior scored a game-high 28 points Dec. 29 to lead the Apaches to a 64-43 win over the Comets in the championship game of the Auburndale Invitational. Waupaca had advanced to the title game with a 52-45 win over Royall Dec. 28.
Auburndale 64, Waupaca 43
It didn’t take Hawkins long to make his presence felt, as he scored nine of the Apaches’ first 11 points.
Auburndale led 19-7 after one quarter, but the chipped away at the lead in the second quarter and cut it to 31-23 at halftime.
The Apaches outscored Waupaca 14-9 in the third quarter and Waupaca never got any closer than 10 points down the stretch, as Auburndale closed out the game with a 13-2 run.
Brando Vasquez and Nate Jenson led Waupaca with 11 points each.
Waupaca 52, Royall 45
The teams went into the second quarter tied at 9-9, but Waupaca outscored the Panthers 10-8 in the second quarter, 18-16 in the third quarter and 15-12 in the fourth quarter.
Jenson, Vasquez and Zander Neuville finished in double figures with 15, 14 and 11 points, respectively, while Sam Murphy led Royall with 21.
The Comets will host Freedom tonight (Thursday, Jan. 3) in an EVC matchup before heading to Clintonville for a rescheduled conference game with the Truckers Saturday, Jan. 5. Waupaca will also play its third game in six days Tuesday, Jan. 8, in Ripon. Tipoff for all three games is set for 7:15 p.m.