Red Lake soundly defeated the host Pine River-Backus Tigers 79-45 in a Northland Conference game on Friday, Feb. 14.
The game started off a tight contest for much of the first half, but Red Lake was able to go on a strong run in the final three minutes of the first half and them another run early in the second half to put the game out of reach for the home team. Red Lake was able to win the game by dominating several areas of the game. First, they used pressure on defense to create turnovers, which often led to fast break points on the other end. The visiting team also showed the ability to score a variety of ways, from inside the paint 3-point shots from behind the arc.
The Tigers scored the first points of the game, but the momentum quickly turned against them. Soon the home team found themselves down 13-4, due in large part to an inability to make shots or stop Red Lake in transition off of turnovers.
However, the Tigers fought back after getting themselves in a deep hole early on. Konrad Bueckers went on a tear, scoring 12 of the Tigers next 14 points to help get his team back in the game. Bueckers was able to score from all over the court during that stretch, whether from behind the arc, at the free throw line, or on an offensive rebound, which he was able to put in for a much needed basket.
The Tigers roared back to within four points, down by a score of 20-24, but that would prove to be the high water mark for the home team. Red Lake was able to convert three consecutive 3-pointers that were part of a 16-2 run over the final 2:38 of the first half. The offensive onslaught was a combination of long-range shots and offensive rebounds, which led to second-chance points.
The Tigers went into the locker room deflated, down by a score of 22-40, after pulling to within two possessions with only minutes left in the half. The Tigers were able to match Red Lake basket-for-basket for the first few minutes of the second half, but unable to go on a run to get back into the game. With the score 28-46, Red Lake would score the games next 18 points, putting them in complete control. The final score was a lopsided victory for Red Lake.
The Tigers, 2-12 in the conference and 4-20 overall, host Laporte on Thursday, Feb. 20.
Red Lake 40 39 — 79
PR-Backus 22 23 — 45
Rob Mclain 12, Tyrell Patterson 4, Darwin Strong 2, James Jourdain 7, Ryan Holthusen 25, Trevenn Beaulieu 15, Jeremy Martin 5, Steven Defoe 3, Jacob Roaneagle 6. FT 10-21 (48 percent).
Zach Semmler 4, Hank Raph 2, TJ Lukanen 6, Cole Larson 4, Konrad Bueckers 16, Jesse Potz 2, Shane Sepin 5, Saul Sasse 2, Zach Struss 4. FG 18-53 (34 percent), FT 8-12 (67 percent). 3-point 1-13 (7 percent).
Isle 61, Tigers 53
Zach Struss totaled 22 points, eight rebounds, and four steals for PR-B in a non-conference loss to Isle on Thursday, Feb. 13. The game was close at halftime as the Tigers trailed just 30-29.
Isle 30 31 — 61
PR-Backus 29 24 — 53
Ethan Schmidt 7, Adam Eye 19, Cody Schweninger 13, Trevor Oswald 21. FT 11-19 (58 percent).
Hank Raph 7, TJ Lukanen 2, Cole Larson 2, Konrad Bueckers 9, Travon Pederson 2, Shane Sepin 9, Zach Struss 22. FG 20-55 (37 percent), FT 10-13 (77 percent). 3-point 3-13 (23 percent).
Tigers 46, Blackduck 39
PR-B found themselves trailing at halftime, but were able to rally in the second half to get a much needed victory on Tuesday, Feb. 11.
The Tigers struggled early in the game versus a team that defeated them earlier in the season. The team didn’t let their struggles in the first half, which led to an eight-point halftime deficit, lead to frustration in the second half. Coming out of the locker room, down 23-15, PR-B decided to implement a full-court press on nearly all inbounds passes after scoring a basket.
The strategy worked, as the Tigers were able to start the second half with a 9-0 run, to turn a game that may have got away from them earlier in the season, into a much closer contest. Quickly they found themselves with a 24-23 lead.
The young team, which had four starters from their sophomore group, ran a much more patient offense once they got the game back in contention. “We ran our offense with patience, and we were able to find some good looks,” Bueckers said.
Another key to the game was the Tigers ability to limit the scoring of Blackduck’s best player, who recently scored his 2,000th point.
“The last time we played them he dropped 30 points on us, but this time we held him to two points,” said Tony Pederson.
The Tigers had excellent defensive efforts from both Shane Sepin and Zach Semmler, whose jobs it was to focus solely on the Blackduck star.
“The strategy in the game was to play man-to-man on him and zone on the rest of the team,” Pederson said.
The decision paid off, with the rest of the Blackduck squad were unable to make PR-B pay for putting extra attention on one player.
Blackduck 23 16 — 39
PR-Backus 15 31 — 46
Wyatt Brands 8, Isaac Volk, 6 Trey Volk 2, Tyler Jablonski 8, Tristan Hendrickson 7, Ethan Granger 8. FT 3-8 (38 percent).
Zach Semmler 2, Hank Raph 10, TJ Lukanen 3, Konrad Bueckers 14, Travon Pederson 2, Tony Pederson 1, Zach Struss 14. FG 18-52 (35 percent), FT 8-12 (67 percent). 3-point 4-10 (40 percent).