One thing was sure to happen when Laporte hosted Northome-Kelliher Thursday night — someone was going to get their first of the season.
The Mustangs took advantage of their size inside and pressed the Wildcats into several mistakes to grab a 38-19 halftime lead on their way to a 66-50 win.
The loss drops Laporte to 0-8, while Northome-Kelliher improves to 1-6.
Laporte finished the first half with 20 turnovers compared to only four for the Mustangs. It also didn’t help that even when Northome-Kelliher missed a shot, they were there to clean the glass, scoring an additional 14 points.
The Wildcats did a much better job of breaking the press in the second half, and their defense force 10 second-half turnovers as they tried valiantly to get back in the game.
Senior Chris McDougall recorded another double-double to lead Laporte with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Caine Richardson came off the bench to score 12, including two first-half three-pointers that kept the game close early.
Justin Clyde finished with seven points and Gibson Smith added six.
The Mustangs had five players score at least eight points with Ethan Dreher leading the way with 13. Jack Gilbert scored 12, Ethan Koisti tossed in 11 — including three three-pointers, Ben Reiger finished with nine and Cedric Barrett added eight.
Trailing by only three points at 17-14 with about eight minutes left in the opening half, the Wildcats wilted against the Mustangs’ press and quickly fell behind by double digits.
Coach Linaes Whiting called a time out to settle his team down, but he had to call a second one a short time later as the turnovers kept mounting.
This week Laporte travels to Littlefork-Big Falls and Lake of the Woods, and next week are at Blackduck and Pine River-Backus.