L-Cats edge Goslings on late steal
Sophomore Charlie Bender hit a transition layup with 1.6 seconds remaining after senior JT Toepfer stole a pass to push the Lake Mills boys basketball team past Watertown 57-55 in a back-and-forth nonconference game on Tuesday at Watertown High School.
Watertown junior guard Kory Stas hit a layup with 7 minutes, 30 seconds remaining to give the Goslings a 50-46 edge before Lake Mills finished the game on an 11-5 run.
Watertown senior Clayton Haase hit a layup with 2:45 left to give the Goslings a 55-53 lead.
After Watertown junior Cade Oiler committed a turnover, Toepfer drove hard to the basket to knot things up at 55 with a minute remaining.
The Goslings called timeout with 14.2 to play but couldn’t get a shot off before Toepfer’s steal.
Watertown inbounded to the frontcourt with 1.6 remaining and called timeout with a second left but Lake Mills’ Adam Moen batted the pass away to seal the game.
“We didn’t do well enough closing out the game,” Watertown boys basketball coach Travis Moulton said. “We had turnovers at the end of the game. Lake Mills is a really good basketball team and over time they have been in a lot of tight games. We haven’t been in many tight games this year. We just did a poor job of closing it out.”
“We have some things we do at the end of games when we’re up to stall and take time. We didn’t do a good enough job of taking care of it. They forced us into turnovers and got an offensive rebound on one we had wrapped up. We didn’t do a good enough job of closing it out. I thought we got fouled on the last possession on the steal. They had one to give which is what I think they were trying to do.”
Watertown senior forward Noah Jeseritz led all scorers with 17 points and Oiler totaled 14.
Toepfer tallied 15 points and Moen chipped in 12 for Lake Mils.
Watertown (5-5) used an 8-0 run in the early stages of the second half capped by an Oiler mid-range jumper to build an advantage.
Lake Mills (8-3) chipped away at the lead with a Matt Johnson 3-pointer followed by a Toepfer layup to make it 44-41.
The L-Cats’ Adam Moen connected from beyond the arc with seven minutes left to cut Watertown’s lead to 50-49. Drew Stoddard hit a shot in the paint to tie things up with 6:15 left.
“It was a big test for us,” Lake Mills boys basketball coach Steve Hicklin said. “I was happy with how we stuck together and weathered the storm. We got off to that great start and they came back at us. On the road, we’re a young team, it’s good to see our team keep fighting and find a way at the end. I’m really proud of their mental toughness.”
Lake Mills focused on taking away Jeseritz in the waning seconds of the game.
“I thought they did a good job executing on us all night long,” Hicklin said. “Towards the end, the last few plays we wanted to keep it out of Jeseritz’s hands. We put two guys on him no matter where he was. We knew with one second left they were going to have to get something to him going to the rim.”
The Goslings started the game with an 8-2 run after Oiler and Stas made 3-point buckets. Lake Mills rallied back with an 18-6 spurt that included a pair of 3-pointers from Johnson and another from Moen.
Jeseritz spearheaded a 10-0 run that gave Watertown a 28-25 lead with three minutes to play before halftime.
“It was good to see Jeseritz aggressive and getting touches,” Moulton said. “Sometimes I think we lack to get him the touches down low. I thought he looked very comfortable tonight. He played like a man on a mission. Hopefully that springboards him in the second half of conference (play) to want the ball down there and to be aggressive.”
Junior guard Payton Foltz contributed 11 points and Stas added six for Watertown.
Bender notched 11 points and Johnson scored all nine of his points from the 3-point line for the L-Cats.
Lake Mills connected on 10 3-pointers but went through cold-shooting stretches from outside too.
“We take a lot of 3s,” Hicklin said. “We’ve learned to play through lulls. We tried to mix up our screens in the second half. We were a bit too predictable with our screening action in the first half.”
“Scouting Lake Mills is difficult because they don’t run many sets,” Moulton said. “They have seven guys who know how to play and play for one another. They don’t take bad shots. If they miss a couple in a row it doesn’t deter them from shooting the next one. They started out really cold. That’s just how they are. They come at you in waves. In the halfcourt, we did pretty good against them. We gave up some transition buckets. We had a couple of possessions where we lost our focus. Overall, I was happy with our defensive performance.”
Neither team built a lead larger then eight points and both squads struggled shooting from the free throw line.
“They shot really poorly from the free throw line and so did we,” Moulton said. “This year that is probably one of our weaknesses is at the free throw line. We do a lot at practice trying to get them to shoot game-like free throws. You win and lose games at the free throw line there’s no doubt about that.”
Watertown hosts Edgewood in a Badger South game on Thursday.
Lake Mills travels to Luther Prep for a Capitol North game on Thursday.
JV falls, JV2 wins: Watertown’s junior varsity lost 56-47. Kaleb Roberts scored 14 points and John Clifford added eight for the Goslings. Watertown’s JV2 defeated Lake Mills 61-42 behind 11 points from Andrew David and 10 from Trenton Shelton.
LAKE MILLS 57, WATERTOWN 55
Lake Mills 31 26 — 57
Watertown 32 23 — 55
Lake Mills (fg-ft-tp) — Herrington 1-0-3, Toepfer 6-1-15, Stoddard 2-0-5, Retrum 1-0-2, Moen 5-0-12, Bender 4-2-11, Johnson 3-0-9. Totals 22 3-9 57.
Watertown (fg-ft-tp) — Oiler 6-0-14, Jeseritz 8-1-17, Foltz 4-3-11, Nailing 1-0-2, Stas 2-1-6, Haase 1-0-2, Rowedder 1-0-3. Totals 23 5-10 55.
Three-point goals — LM, Johnson 3, Toepfer 2, Moen 2, Herrington, Stoddard, Bender; W, Oiler 2, Stas, Rowedder.
Total fouls — LM 12, W 10.