PROCTOR — Dylan Hom plans to join the Minnesota Air National Guard, but for now, the Proctor senior is staying focused on being the toughest player to guard on the basketball court.
Hom displayed just that earlier this week when the Rails’ forward finished with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks en route to a triple-double in Proctor’s 61-46 win over Barnum on Monday, Feb. 10, in Proctor.
“He’s just a great kid who works hard and does what we ask,” said Rails coach Kory Deadrick. “He had some big buckets for us.”
In fact, Hom had 10 buckets in the second half alone Monday, often taking the ball fearlessly to the rim. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder is also a fast jumper, which allows him to punish opponents inside on the glass. He can shoot from outside as well.
“If they guard up on me, I’ll drive, and if they don’t, I’ll shoot a three,” said Hom.
“He had a good night,” added Barnum coach Rich Newman. “He did what he had to do for them.”
Hom’s 25-foot 3-pointer as the first-half horn sounded gave Proctor a 29-23 lead at the break Monday, sending plenty of Proctor fans into roars.
“That was a huge momentum swing,” Deadrick said.
The Rails reeled off a 15-2 run to begin the night, only to see it evaporate. The Bombers had a 15-2 spurt of their own and tied things at 17 with six minutes left in the first half on a Jake Hultgren 3-pointer.
It would be the closest Barnum would get to the lead.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” said Newman. “You’ve got to come ready to play every night, and our boys just didn’t come to play tonight. It was a letdown.”
Deadrick and his Rails (8-15) were on the other end of that difference in a recent game with Greenway, seeing the Raiders run on a 34-6 stretch in a game Proctor lost 66-42 last week. While Barnum sniffed within 29-27 early in the second, they never got closer.
Much of that had to do with Hom and his busy stat line, while teammate Keegan Dinh added 11 points.
“Our record is not that good, but if our shots are falling, we’re running the floor and we know our roles, I think we can beat anyone,” said Hom. “They can’t sleep on us.”
The Bombers were led by Hultgren’s 13 points, as well as 9 points each from Reed Kornovich and Joe Peterson.
One of the squad’s top scorers, 6-foot-3 senior Blaze Hurst — averaging double-figures nightly — didn’t have a single point Monday.
That inconsistency has been the story of Barnum's season. A gutsy squad amidst the mix in Section 5A — opposed to 7AA like the past several seasons — the Bombers have the talent to make some noise, but if so, need to find their groove by the end of the month.
“They have a beautiful chance being in single-A, but they just haven’t been able to grasp on to that golden ticket yet,” said Newman. “They’ve got to understand that it’s effort and energy and they’ve got to bring that every night.”
Hultgren echoed their longtime coach.
“We play pretty good sometimes, but a lot of times, I don’t think we play as well as we should,” he said. “When we’re playing well, we can stand up there with some of the better teams.
“We can play tough, but I still think we can get a little tougher,” Hultgren said.
Proctor found out what they were made of in Section 7AA on Tuesday when the Rails engaged with Esko — the section’s reigning champs for six of the last seven years. Their efforts came up short in a 69-52 defeat.
While the game was in Proctor, it was a homecoming of sorts for Deadrick, Esko’s all-time leading scorer, rebounder and state champion in 2014.
“I’ve had the game circled since I got the job (at Proctor),” said the 23-year-old Deadrick. “Definitely a little different being in the green and white.”
Barnum — Braiden Davis 3, Reed Kornovich 9, Joe Peterson 9, Jake Hultgren 13, Willie Richardson 8, Garrett Coughlin 2, Matt Berry 2. 18 4-16 46.
3-point goals — Davis, Peterson, Hultgren 3, Richardson.
Proctor — Keegan Dinh 11, Evan Checkalski 8, Reese Pinney 5, Dylan Hom 29, Dom Jauhola 8. 24 9-17 61.
3-point goals — Dinh, Checkalski 2, Hom.