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Comeback falls short

January 17, 2020 by Brett LaBore

Looking to build a win streak, the Lakeland boys’ basketball team took on Mosinee on Tuesday night.

Mosinee took the game by a score of 70-66.

“We had a chance to steal a game on the road and we just didn’t quite get it done,” coach Rich Fortier said. “But it was good effort by our boys.”

The game started fast. Both teams were making shots and pushing the ball up the court. Mosinee started a perfect 3/3 from the field and led early.

Then the Thunderbirds used great passing to match them shot for shot. Cody Wolfe scored two when Collin Quade drove to the rim and dished out a pass. The next shot was scored by Nolan St. Germaine, drawing a foul as well. He made the free throw and completed the 3-point play.

“(Nolan) works hard, plays hard, tries hard and has the heart of a champion,” coach Fortier said.

Alex Fortier drove to the rim, kicked out and hit Michael Ouimette who hit a 3-pointer. The game was tied at 10-10.

“Mike scored from the inside, scored from the outside, mostly from the inside, even with their bigs,” coach Fortier said. 

Not only did Mosinee make shots, but they were making their 3-pointers as well. A couple of quick shots here and there led to a 19-12 lead.

The Thunderbirds did not back down. Alex Fortier responded with a big 3-pointer on a St. Germaine assist. Quade then hit a 3-pointer himself. 

“We made just enough 3-pointers to hang around — love to make a couple more here and there,” coach Fortier said.

Two other Lakeland players got in the action. Luke Larsen hit a basket followed by Jacob Borak, who made his shot on an out of bounds play. Borak came down the floor on Lakeland’s next possession and made another basket, tying the game at 26-26.

With three minutes left in the first half, Mosinee led 35-29. Borak got another steal, pushed it down the court on the fast break and hit Ouimette for a shot.

Mosinee’s guards didn’t go away. Luke Spink and Cyle Kowalski hit shots to grow Mosinee’s lead.

Now down by double digits, St. Germaine hit a shot with four seconds left to cut the Mosinee lead to nine. Mosinee led 44-35 at the half.

“I thought Nolan made a big play there,” coach Fortier said. 

The second half became a half of runs. The first run came by the Thunderbirds. It all started when Quade made a basket on a drive to the rim. Then, Ouimette made a bucket on a fast break, assisted by Wolfe. 

Quade made another shot before Ouimette gave the Thunderbirds the lead at 49-48. Eventually, Mosinee called a timeout.

Back came Mosinee. Using turnovers and quick baskets to their advantage, Mosinee went on a 9-0 run to lead 57-51 with eight minutes to go. 

“They called a timeout, they rallied their troops and they made a little push there which was the push they needed to win the game,” coach Fortier said.

Now down 64-57, it was now or never for the Thunderbirds. That’s when the final run of the game was made. 

“We went to the zone and the zone worked well in the second half. We got back in the game with that,” coach Fortier said.

Ouimette scored a deuce on a steal. After that, Alex Fortier made a 3-pointer, a foul was called, giving Lakeland the ball back. Quade used the extra possession to score two more points. Another foul was called and Lakeland had another opportunity.

“And before you know it the eight point game is a three point game,” coach Fortier said. 

Following a timeout, Ouimette scored on an inbounds play. He finished with 23 points in the game. 

“It’s hard for bigs to play against same sized, also athletic, kids and Mike just destroyed them,” coach Fortier said. “I was very impressed with him.”

The Thunderbirds went on a 9-3 and were down 67-66 with a minute to play.

“And Mike scored I felt really good, and then we just had to make a play and we got what we wanted,” coach Fortier said. 

Spink missed one of his free throws as Lakeland went for the tie. Borak had a look at the basket, but couldn’t get it to fall. Kowalski sealed the game at the free throw line, giving Mosinee the win.

“We had a chance and we just didn’t make a play and they were able to salt it away at the free throw line,” coach Fortier said. “I’m happy for our kids. I thought they played hard.”

Up next, the Thunderbirds travel to Medford for a game tonight starting at 7:15 p.m. 

Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected].

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