L-Cats take down Stoughton
LAKE MILLS — Stoughton was going to make a run at the Lake Mills boys basketball team in the second half. The Vikings were too good to trail by double digits all game.
The L-Cats used 27 points from Matt Johnson to create just enough separation in the second half for a 66-61 home victory over Stoughton on Saturday afternoon at Lake Mills High School in a nonconference game.
“We had our resolve tested a little bit when they made that run at us, and I was just happy to see us not crack and made the plays we needed to and come through in a situation like that,” Lake Mills head coach Steve Hicklin said. “We haven’t really had a game that close really down the stretch yet this year. That was good to see.”
Less than two minutes into the second half, Lake Mills led by 15 points after Adam Moen knocked down a deep two-pointer from the right wing.
Stoughton answered with a 22-9 run, capped by back-to-back Adam Hobson 3-pointers over the next nine minutes to make it a 48-46 game in Lake Mills’ favor.
Charlie Bender answered each of Hobson’s threes with deep shots of his own as he scored eight consecutive points for the L-Cats.
“I think our guys do a really good job of being unselfish and getting the ball to wherever is feeling it, whoever has got it going or whoever has got the matchup. You saw that with the little run Charlie made,” Hicklin said. “That’s kind of what we try to do is find a way and get the guys the ball when they’re open.”
From there, Johnson hit his seventh 3-pointer of the game, and then a layup one minute later to go up by 11 points with 3:33 remaining in the game.
“Last year, he shot the ball really well, just like he is this year. But this year, he’s able to take it off the bounce and get to the basket,” Hicklin said. “So when you have that ability, with the way people guard him now, it’s kind of opened up his whole game.”
The L-Cats (5-1) missed five free throws, including the front end of a one-and-one on two occasions, keeping the door open for the Vikings (7-3).
Luke Ferhnolz and Jack Nelson each had two baskets in the final 90 seconds, but Stoughton could never get closer than four points.
Holding the lead, the L-Cats were comfortable letting the Vikings attack inside and eat up valuable time while taking a contested look for two points.
“(Their size) concerns me, but we’re not going to change how we play. We don’t have the size. What we do best is shoot, and we’re just happy that the math tends to be on our side,” Hicklin said. “But if we had big guys like that, we would play the same way. That’s the fun thing about high school basketball is you’ve got to play to your strengths.”
Hobson scored a team-high 22 points for the Vikings, while Nelson posted 16 in the paint for the visitors.
Nelson, who stands at 6-foot-7, was nearly impossible to guard by one L-Cat throughout the duration of the game. Adam Moen got the start on him defensively, and Jaxson Retrum spend some time trying to deny the entry pass.
It took multiple players on help defense to attempt to slow him down, but he could not be contained on the offensive rebounds.
“We wanted to be sure we were playing good positional defense and we were in position once the shot did go up,” Hicklin said. “I thought, for the most part, we did a pretty good job. There’s some of those, you won’t be able to stop Nelson from getting his way in there. But I thought we got enough rebounds.”
Lake Mills will play in a home tournament later this week. The L-Cats will play against Milwaukee Riverside at 3 p.m. Thursday.
LAKE MILLS 66,
Stoughton 23 38 — 61
Lake Mills 35 31 — 66
Stoughton (fg-ft-tp) — Anderson 6-1-13, Hobson 6-6-22, Sproul 2-0-4, Fernholz 3-0-6, Nelson 7-2-16. Totals — 24-9-61.
Lake Mills (fg-ft-tp) — Herrington 1-0-2, Toepfer 2-5-10, Stoddard 2-0-5, Retrum 1-1-3, Moen 4-1-10, Bender 3-1-9, Johnson 9-2-27. Totals — 22-10-66.
3-pointers — S Hobson 4, LM Toepfer, Stoddard, Moen, Bender 2, Johnson 7.
Total Fouls — S 19, LM 14.