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Boys Basketball: Tigers 'D' deflates Bombers

Lake City's Reid Lundell (20) posts up against Cannon Falls' Noah Callister during the second half of Friday's Hiawatha Valley League Blue division game in Lake City.1 / 4
Cannon Falls' Noah Callister looks to pass the ball down low during the first half Friday at Lake City.2 / 4
Lake City's Mitch Kuchinka looks to pass the ball down court past Cannon Falls defender Paul Rolfes during the second half Friday at Lincoln High School.3 / 4
Cannon Falls center Austin Noble (left) barrels his way into the post against a Lake City defender during the first half Friday.4 / 4

LAKE CITY - Although his team had averaged 67.7 points over its last three games, Lake City boys basketball coach Shawn Sweeney knew his team could be in for an entirely different kind of game Friday against Cannon Falls.

"I knew if both teams were up to snuff on defense, it'd be a low-scoring game, and that's fine," Sweeney said.

Holding the Bombers to 23.7 percent shooting, the Tigers moved to 2-0 in the Hiawatha Valley Blue division with a 45-34 home victory.

"I thought the kids played very well defensively from start to finish," Sweeney said. "Cannon Falls has a lot of offensive firepower and we were able to contest shots."

From the onset, it looked like the Tigers were continuing their high-scoring streak, jumping out to a 10-0 lead. But thanks to 3-pointers from Jordan Lundell and Alex Bultena, Cannon Falls cut the gap to 10-6. Long-distance shooting was the only thing keeping the Bombers in contention in the first half, as four of the team's five first-half field goals came from 3-point range.

The Tigers went into halftime with a 22-14 lead, holding Cannon Falls to 19.2 percent shooting from the field.

"They did a nice job against us switching from the 3-2 (zone) to man," said Bombers head coach Josh Davisson. "We just weren't knocking down shots.

"We said at halftime, 'You can't go out against a team like Lake City and get pushed around in the first half and expect to be ahead in the game.'"

In the second half, the Bombers scored 11 of the first 15 points, taking a brief 27-26 lead after a deep 2-pointer by Jordan Lundell.

But from there, the Tigers started pushing the ball inside despite a size advantage for the Bombers. Capitalizing the most in the paint was Reid Lundell, who scored eight of his 11 points after halftime.

"We battled through adversity and weathered the storm," Reid Lundell said. "We got through that and got our tempo back up again."

Sweeney added, "Reid got into a little foul trouble in the first and we had to sit him down. But he came out with a stronger second half and that was big for us."

Brock Peterson brought Cannon Falls back to within two with a layup late in the second half. After suffering a bloody nose and having to switch from No. 4 to No. 53, Peterson tried to will the Bombers back into contention.

The shooting success was still hard to come by for Cannon Falls as the team converted just nine of its 33 second-half shots.

Leading 36-34, Reid Lundell drove the baseline for a layup, and the Tigers were fouled the rest of the way, scoring the last nine points of the contest from the free-throw line.

"In the HVL Blue, that's the way it is," Reid Lundell said. "Grind-it-out defensive games."

Lake City (6-1) hosts a two-day holiday tournament, starting on Thursday against Mid-Pacific Institute (Hawaii). Cannon Falls (2-5, 0-1 HVL Blue) takes on LeSueur-Henderson in the first round of the St. Peter holiday tournament, starting on Dec. 28.

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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