The Lakeland boys’ basketball season is right around the corner. To get ready for it, the Thunderbirds played a scrimmage against several teams.
The Thunderbirds traveled to Marathon to scrimmage both Marathon and Stanley-Boyd on Tuesday, Nov. 26.
Six different players scored in the 15-minute, running-clock scrimmage. No score was kept.
“We did some nice things, had some different guys make shots, make some plays,” coach Rich Fortier said.
It started with Colin Quade’s defense. He scored on a steal as the Thunderbirds got on the board.
Then Michael Ouimette got in on the action. He did several post-up moves and scored his first basket of the night.
“I think when (Colin and Mike) get rolling the way they can we’re going to be fine and of course this is a long process,” coach Fortier said.
Alex Fortier scored next. He made a three-point shot coming off an assist by Quade, then scored off an outlet pass by Nolan St. Germaine.
After a quick timeout, coach Fortier put in his subs. Jacob Borak got his first basket as a variety of players hit the court for the first time this season.
Then Marathon went on a run. Marathon used quick passing and offensive rebounding to their advantage, using second chances as a way to get points.
“Our defense was pretty good,” coach Fortier said. “We got to hit box outs better, we got to finish our defensive possession with defensive rebounding.”
Towards the end of the game, St. Germaine had an uncontested layup for a basket, followed by a Tim Crisco three-point shot.
The Thunderbirds ran their offense for a couple of easy baskets to the pleasure of Fortier. On one occasion, Alex Fortier got the ball in the post for an easy layup off some nice passes.
“(We) really didn’t get Collin or Mike off at all and still were pretty competitive which I really like, I like it a lot,” coach Fortier said.
Then, a sequence of passing led to an open three-point shot. Finally, Cody Wolfe caught two offensive rebounds, kicked it out and then got it back for a basket.
The Thunderbirds will rely on Quade and Ouimette for scoring this year. But if the scoring is balanced like during last Tuesday’s scrimmage, coach Fortier doesn’t mind it.
“We’ll take balance because I do know Mike and Collin will be our leading scorers and from there the rest of the guys are going to try to contribute in some way,” coach Fortier said.
As the Thunderbirds replace 18 points per game Jonathan Jurries, Ouimette and Quade will have to come up big.
Ouimette averaged 13.8 points per game in conference, the most of any returning T-Bird. He also tallied 49 total rebounds and added in 17 assists. His 14 steals tied for second most on the team and he was second with 13 blocks.
Quade averaged 7.6 points per game in conference. He was a sharp shooter, shooting 16 of 40 on three for a 40% clip. He tied for second with 14 steals and was second with 27 assists.
“Mike and Collin are both returning, so those guys are going to be really important to our team,” coach Fortier said.
In addition to Quade, Alex Fortier shot the three well. He returns shooting 39% from three point land.
The conference will not be easy this year. Mosinee and Medford figure to be in the mix at the top.
Mosinee went 12-0 last season in conference and averaged 76 points per game. They were first in scoring offense, rebounding, assists and free throw percentage.
“I think Mosinee with their guard play and they’re coached well (is good),” coach Fortier said.
Medford went 7-5 in conference. They prioritized themselves on defense, ranking number one in scoring defense, giving up just 51.2 points per game. They were also top three in assists and rebounding.
The Thunderbirds officially kick off their season Tuesday, Dec. 3 at Merrill starting at 7:15 p.m.
Then they play Thursday, Dec. 5 in their home opener against Wausau West. Tip-off is at 7:15 p.m.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]