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Boys Basketball: Tigers advance to tournament finals

Lake City's Ben Schramski (23) makes a baseline pass past a Mid-Pacific Institute defender in the first half of Thursday's first-round game of the Lake City Invite at Lincoln High School.1 / 2
Lake City freshman Brady Kuchinka (4) drives past a Mid-Pacific Institute defender during the first half Thursday in Lake City. The Tigers moved on to the championship game of the Lake City Invite with a 57-34 victory over the Owls.2 / 2

LAKE CITY - In order to pick up a win on Thursday, Lake City had to shut down one of its own.

Playing Mid-Pacific Institute, a private school based in Honolulu, Hawaii, the Tigers' goal was to shut down Owls senior forward Ryan Swanson, who was averaging 21 points per game entering Thursday's game.

Ryan, along with his brother Ben, grew up in Lake City before the family moved to Hawaii. So while they had to take on old friends, the Tigers were ecstatic for a chance to shut down Ryan Swanson.

"Even though he was their leading scorer, we wanted to do it for our own personal reason," said Lake City guard Ben Schramski. "We played in the Diamond and 1, and Jake (Griebenow) had to work his butt off all night."

The Tigers' defensive efforts paid off with Ryan Swanson being held to five points as Lake City cruised to a 57-34 victory in the opening round of the Lake City Invite.

"We did a good job of mixing up our defenses and not making mistakes," said Tigers head coach Shawn Sweeney.

Early in the game, it looked to be a game of speed as Mid-Pacific had the speedy athletes to match up with the Tigers.

"If you saw their warm-up, they work themselves into a frenzy," Sweeney said. "I was like, 'Gosh, I'm getting tired watching them warm up.'"

Leading 9-6, Lake City went on an 11-0 run, thanks to solid jump shooting by Schramski, Brady Kuchinka and Griebenow. With the Tigers up 20-8, the Owls never got closer than 12 points for the rest of the game as Lake City shot 51.3 percent from the field.

"They did a solid job of executing on offense and getting good looks," Sweeney said of his offense. "We were able to control what we wanted to do and we did a good job of sharing the ball."

With Reid Lundell (five points, seven rebounds) and Brady Kuchinka (six points, four rebounds) juking their way through the paint, it opened things up for Schramski and Griebenow along the perimeter.

"Reed, Mitch and Jake were doing a good job driving, and everyone would collapse and I'd get open looks," said Schramski, who had a game-high 19 points. "It was the same thing for Jake (on the outside). We drive and get wide-open kick outs, and things started falling early."

Holding a 36-13 lead at halftime, Lake City jumped out to a 44-19 advantage thanks to a 7-point run, including five by Schramski.

The Tigers held Mid-Pacific without a double-digit scorer, as Tyler Yamachika led the Owls with six points. Ryan Swanson finished with five points and five rebounds in over 26 minutes, while Ben Swanson had two points, one rebound and one steal in over 20 minutes.

Lake City (8-1) will play in the championship game at 6 p.m. today against Legacy Christian Academy, while Mid-Pacific faces Ellsworth (Wis.) at 3 p.m.

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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