The long bus ride home from Baudette was a lot more fun for Laporte as they won their first game of the season, holding off Lake of the Woods 54-53 Thursday night.
Coach Linaes Whiting said it’s nice for the boys to finally get rewarded for the hard work they have been putting in.
“This group plays just as hard whether they are up five or down 25. It’s been a pleasure coming to the gym every day and watching them improve. So it’s awesome to get our first win of the season, and hopefully it’s something that gives us some momentum and we can build off of.”
Senior Chris McDougall scored 12 of his team-high 16 points in the second half and pulled down nine rebounds. Caine Richardson scored 11 and had four assists, Ethan Moss had nine points and added five boards, Justin Clyde tossed in seven and Gibson Smith scored six points.
Tanner Nordlof led the Bears with 17 points, Wyatt Shaw tossed in 15 and Garrett Jensen added 13.
Richardson opened the game by draining two three-pointers. Moss would score the next five points as Laporte would go on to grab a 28-16 lead at the break.
In the second half, the Bears kept chipping away at the lead. They would sink six threes in the half as they cut the lead to four points with under a minute to play.
Shaw drained five threes and Nordlof scored 11 of his points in the half as the Bears trailed 53-49. A lane violation negated McDougall’s made foul shot on the front end of a one-and-one, and on the ensuing possession the Bears scored.
McDougall once again was fouled and he made the front end of a one-and-one, but missed the second. Nordlof answered as he sank two foul shots after he was fouled. Laporte then turned the ball over on an out-of-bounds pass, but there were under five seconds remaining and the Bears missed a shot as time expired.
Laporte once again struggled from the foul line, going 5-13. The Bears were 5-8, all in the second half.
The win moves Laporte to 1-9 on the season. This week the Wildcats travel to Blackduck and Pine River-Backus. Next week they have three games in four days. They host Cass Lake-Bena Tuesday, Pine River-Backus Thursday and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley Friday night.
Laporte stays winless
A seven-minute stretch at the end of the first half and beginning of second led the Wildcats to fall 60-35 at Littlefork-Big Falls Jan. 7, a team they nearly beat only a couple weeks ago.
Laporte trailed by only 21-16 with about three minutes left in the half only to see the host Vikings end with a 8-2 run.
It got even worse to start the second half as the Vikings opened on a 14-3 run to go up by 22 points.
Coach Linaes Whiting said the guys did a poor job of rebounding and played sloppy with the ball.
McDougall scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half, including stepping outside to drain a pair of threes. He also pulled down seven rebounds.
The next best scorers were Hamilton, Moss and Richardson with four each.
Matt Kennedy led all scorers with 19 points, Anthony Ciprian scored 10 and Dale Erickson added eight.