It took 11 games, but the Laporte boys won their first game of the season last week, and three night later they won their second.
Hosting Littlefork-Big Falls Jan. 8, a team they lost to by 10 points back in late December, the Wildcats overcame a 13-point halftime deficit to win 63-49.
Coach Austin Moss was happy to see his guys win the game, but wasn’t happy with the first half. “Our defense wasn’t that good, but in the second half, the guys shot the ball well.”
Trailing 32-19 at the break, the Wildcats pounded the ball inside and it worked. They outscored the Vikings 44-17 in the second half.
Chris McDougall dominated the paint, finishing with a team-high 22 points and grabbing 13 boards. Bradley Stenger, who scored Laporte’s first nine points of the game, finished with 17.
Nick Bialke scored seven points and had eight boards and six assists, while both Ethan Moss and Jaden Clyde had six points. Clyde also had five steals and three assists, while Devon Lafriniere had four steals.
Leading the 3-4 Vikings was Matt Kennedy with 23 points, but he only scored six in the second half. Anthony Cipriano added 13 points.
The two wins puts Laporte at 2-11 on the season. This week they host 4-7 Blackduck, and next week they are at 12-0 Cass Lake-Bena.
Laporte rallies for win
The Wildcats are getting accustomed to these second-half comebacks as they overcame a seven-point deficit to beat visiting Lake of the Woods 60-47 Friday night.
Four Wildcats finished in double figures with Clyde leading the way 17 points. The junior made three huge three-pointers as Laporte outscored the visitors 42-22 in the second half.
Stenger score 16 and grabbed nine rebounds, Bialke recorded his first double-double with 11 points and 11 boards, and he also led with five steals and four assists. McDougall scored 10 and pulled down nine rebounds, while Lafriniere had three assists.
Coach Moss said the guys had another “super-ugly” first half, but played much better in the second. “The guys moved the ball better to get some open shots, and they made them. Our defense also forced some turnovers and we got some easy layups.”
Tanner Nordlof led the Bears with 21 points and Michael Lucek tossed 13.
Rally comes up short
If not for a huge double-digit, second-half deficit, Laporte could have easily been celebrating another win Thursday night over visiting Clearbrook-Gonvick.
Trailing by more than 20 points with about five minutes to play, the Wildcats woke up and went on scoring rampage that was ignited by a full-court, man-to-man press.
Lafriniere was key piece for the defense as the sophomore had four of his team-high seven steals during the rally.
Within a few minutes the lead was cut to 10 points and with only 29 seconds to play it was 59-57 with Laporte having possession of the ball. A very questionable offensive push-off foul gave the ball back to the Bears, and with Laporte was forced to foul, the Bears made two free throws in the closing moments for a 61-57 win.
The Bears, who came in with an 8-2 record and with wins against such teams as Blackduck, Bagley, Northome-Kelliher and Roseau, jumped out to a 34-15 halftime lead. They extended that lead to 25 points in the second half.
“Our defense wasn’t terrible in the first half, we just weren’t making our shots. We had open looks, they just weren’t falling,” Coach Moss said.
Clyde led the way with 14 points and 10 rebounds, Stenger scored 13 points, Bialke tossed in 12, and McDougall pulled down 12 boards and scored eight points.
Jonny Hammes led the Bears with 16 points, Ethan Dorman finished with 14 points and Erick Bergman scored 12.