Boys Basketball: Lake City overpowers undermanned EllsworthLAKE CITY - Lake City dominated the offensive glass Tuesday night against Ellsworth.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
LAKE CITY - Lake City dominated the offensive glass Tuesday night against Ellsworth.
The Tigers grabbed 15 offensive rebounds in the game, but the Panthers wouldn’t go away. Starting the game without three starters -- two due to injury and another missing the first half because of disciplinary action -- Ellsworth was scrambling but staying with Lake City.
The Panthers gave up 15 offensive rebounds in the game and shot just 3 of 15 from the 3-point line but kept the score within reach until the last four minutes. All things considered, Ellsworth wasn’t heartbroken leaving with a 69-53 loss.
“We were short-manned to say the least,” Ellsworth head coach Rich Powers said. “I knew we’d have our hands full. … A couple loose balls went their way. We were in the game until the end.”
On the other end, Lake City head coach Shawn Sweeney said he was pleased with his players’ efforts even as the Tigers missed numerous open layups Tuesday.
“We had great looks, they just didn’t go down,” he said. “I thought they did a great job of crashing the glass. We stayed after it. That’s a key area for us.”
Junior Reid Lundell led Lake City (3-0) with 17 points and nine rebounds, while senior Jake Griebenow had 14 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals.
Ninth-grader Brady Kuchinka was a sparkplug off the bench for the Tigers, finishing with 12 points, six rebounds (three offensive rebounds), three assists and three steals.
“He can play,” Sweeney said. “He’s very heady and he’s very athletic. He’s got confidence. The fans are in for a treat the next four years.”
Senior Mitch Kuchinka was a force on the defense end for Lake City as he had six steals to go along with six points and four assists.
“I thought he had a great game, not to be overlooked,” said Sweeney.
The Panthers (2-3) were led by junior Chrystian Kulow, who finished with 22 points on 9 of 17 shooting. Kulow struggled from behind the arc, going 0-for-6, but kept Ellsworth in the game with his ability to get into the lane and hit pull-up jump shots. He also had four rebounds, four assists and two steals.
The Tigers never trailed in the game and their biggest lead in the first half was at 29-16 with 5 minutes, 40 seconds left on a basket by senior Ben Schramski. Lake City led 33-24 at halftime as Kulow paced all scorers with 12 points for Ellsworth, and Lundell provided 11 points for the Tigers.
Lake City turned the ball over on its first possession of the second half and allowed the Panthers to cut the gap to 37-30 at 16:05, but made a quick 6-2 run to regain control. Again, Ellsworth fought back to within four points at 49-45 with 6:50 remaining on a 3-pointer by sophomore Nick Taranto. Taranto had eight points and three rebounds while only playing in the second half.
Senior Brandyn Oliver answered with a 3-pointer of his own for the Tigers, and the Panthers never got closer the rest of the way. Brady Kuchinka’s 3-pointer with 4:21 left in the half gave Lake City a 59-49 lead and started a 13-4 run to secure the victory.
“They’ve got a lot of senior leadership,” Powers said of the Tigers. “They’re fundamentally sound and they hit the glass hard. They do a lot of things well.”
The Tigers finished with 12 steals and 13 turnovers to Ellsworth’s 19 turnovers and seven steals.
Next up, Ellsworth plays on the road Friday against Amery, and Lake City is off until Tuesday when the Tigers face Winona Cotter in Winona.