Lena Downs White Lake To Open Holiday Tourney
Lena's swarming defense was too much for White Lake in the opening round of the 38th annual Lena Holiday Tournament as the Wildcats put away the Lakers 70-38 and advanced to the championship.
Lena started slowly on the offensive end, but turned things on a few minutes into the first half, when they went on a 17-3 run that contained two Connor Heise and-1 layups and a few steals that created opportunities at the offensive end. The senior guard led all scorers on the day, as he finished with 20, on pace with his season average of 20.5 points per contest.
Lena Head Coach Jeff Heimke said he didn't have to switch his gameplan up much to create defensive pressure.
"We're pretty senior heavy, so they get into passing lanes pretty well. The kids have played a lot, they'll apply their own pressure. I don't really need to encourage them to do that," he said after the game.
A key to Lena's defensive performance was shutting down Lakers junior Chris Schewe Jr., who came into the game averaging 15.8 points per game, with a season-high of 27. Schewe battled foul trouble throughout and scored just two points in the game. He failed to get in the books before halftime, which Lena entered with a commanding 34-15 lead.
Another force that Lena had to deal with was 6'4" center Mitchell Wegner. The junior was the tallest player on the court, especially against Lena's four-guard lineup. Beyond that, he also flashed some potential on the perimeter, as Heimke noted.
"He'll step back and hit some mid-range jump shots," Heimke said. "He hit a couple tonight, but I thought they did a decent job keeping him off the glass."
Wegner finished a bucket short of a double-double, scoring eight points and hauling in 10 rebounds.
Lena didn't let up in the second, half, opening on an 8-2 run to keep themselves in the driver's seat, finishing the game out strong to secure the 70-38 victory.
Beyond Heise's 20, Lena had an even scoring output, with senior Riley Marquardt adding 14 and nine Wildcats getting their name on the scoresheet.
Just five Lakers were able to score any points, with senior Jeremiah Hull serving as the strongest offensive threat on the day. The 6'1" forward showed off some nice post moves to earn his team-high 16 points.
Despite foul trouble, junior guard Jamison Smith also added nine for the Lakers.
The loss dropped White Lake to 1-6 on the year. Their lone win came last Thursday, when they defeated Three Lakes. They play Stockbridge in the consolation bracket of the Holiday Tournament.
The win moved Lena to 6-1 on the season. Looking forward to Wednesday's championship against 2015 tournament champions Valley Christian, Coach Heimke expected a quicker pace to the game.
"I know it'll be a lot different game than what tonight looked like, but hopefully we play well," he said. "We're going to get up and down the court a little bit, hopefully do what we do well."
In a non-conference showdown between the Bonduel Bears and the Peshtigo Bulldogs Thursday night, it was all Bulldogs, all the time. The stingy Peshtigo defense held Bonduel to just 15 first-half points, while scoring 27 themselves. Scoring picked up in the second half where the Bulldogs went on to win the matchup, 61-38.
"We knew we wanted to go inside against their 2-3 zone, once we moved our inside guys it really opened things up," said Peshtigo Coach Nate Motkowski. "I'm happy we're finding a way to gut games out and get "W's", but I know we're not playing to our highest potential yet, which is exciting. I know we're going to get better over break and I know we're going to get more comfortable with each other as the year goes on. The sky is the limit."
The even Peshtigo offense was led by Matt Larsen with 11 points, followed by Ryley Demmith with 10, Nathan Goneau with eight, and Justin Thill with seven. Twelve of the thirteen Bulldogs on the roster made their way into the score book.
"I thought some guys really stepped up for us. With Ryley going out early, he's kind of our main rebounder, we had some different guys inside step up and really help out." Coach Motkowski added, "Nathan Goneau and Trent Carriveau stepped in and really played some big minutes for us."
Bonduel was paced by Parker Bohm with 18 points while Wyatt Erb pitched in with six.
Florence Sneaks Past STAA
The Cavaliers of St. Thomas Aquinas Academy hosted the Florence Bobcats Thursday night in a matchup of non-conference foes. Both squads were neck and neck all night, battling to a 27-26 lead by STAA, only to see Florence win by the narrow margin of 47-45.
Jack Farley scored a game-high 22 points for the Cavaliers. Tyler Stuart pitched in with eight points, Christian Hornick added seven and Eric Powers and Jordan Bourdelais each scored four.
Florence was led by Glenn Berry with 19 points, Nathan Krueger scored 13, Dylan McClain added 10, and Jay Walstrom chipped in three.
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