The Lakeland boys’ basketball team looked to get back to their winning ways in 2020 with a trip to Rhinelander on Friday, Jan. 3.
The Hodags defeated the Thunderbirds 53-47.
“It was good to get back,” coach Rich Fortier said. “The whole game went back and forth the whole way.”
It was a good start to the game for the Thunderbirds. They came out with an 8-0 lead, scoring on their early possessions.
“We started 8-0 with probably three or four possessions and got some looks we didn’t make,” coach Fortier said.
That scoring run woke the Hodags up. They were able to get back in the game, a low-scoring first half where both teams took their time in each possession.
“They were willing to get what they wanted with patience and that ended in some longer possessions where the defensive team got rebounds,” coach Fortier said.
The Hodags went on 16-7 run to make it a 17-16 Thunderbird lead in the first half. Those points were led by Drake Martin and Quinn Lamers. They were willing their way back in the game.
“I think we got their attention with the play early and it became one of those very good high school basketball games,” coach Fortier said.
Michael Ouimette countered for the Thunderbirds. He was able to score in the paint, working in the block for some points.
With 40 seconds left in the half, Payton Johnson hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 21-21 heading into the half.
In the second half, Ouimette got hot. He scored a basket, then scored again and made the free throw. He ended up with 21 points.
“He did a nice job of getting to the free throw line and scoring around the rim,” coach Fortier said.
Answering Ouimette, Martin scored a basket as well as a couple of free throws himself. The Thunderbirds led 33-32 with under nine minutes to go.
In the final five minutes, the Thunderbirds took a 41-40 lead thanks to a Ouimette basket. Martin yet again answered with one of his own.
“We were right there to win a basketball game and a different night we make those plays,” coach Fortier said. “Rhinelander was able to win.”
Ouimette put the Thunderbirds up 46-44 with 2:47 left to play. That would be their final lead. The Hodags salted away the victory with free throws from Erikson and Lamers.
“They made some plays at the end that we didn’t make,” coach Fortier said.
Lamers led the Hodags with 16 points, followed by Martin with 13.
The Thunderbirds’ next game came Monday at non-conference D.C. Everest. Coverage of that game will be in the Jan. 10 edition of The Times
Then they play Friday, Jan. 10 at home against Northland Pines starting at 7:30 p.m.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]