L-Cats crush Milwaukee North to close out Holiday Classic
LAKE MILLS — One night earlier, the Lake Mills L-Cats were held to 47 points. It was their second-lowest point total of the season.
The L-Cats responded in a big way scoring 50 points in the first half as they cruised to an 84-46 victory over Milwaukee North in the second game of the Lake Mills Holiday Classic hosted at Lake Mills.
“That’s kind of the character of this group. Every time we lose, we bounce back and learn from it,” Lake Mills coach Steve Hicklin said. “I figured we would have pretty good effort here today.”
Senior JT Toepfer scored 10 of his 11 first-half points during a 24-7 run which began when he made a basket to tie the game at 13 with 13 minutes, 27 seconds left in the period.
“Early on we were settling for 3s, then we realized we would get layups if we moved it a little bit,” Hicklin said. “That’s kind of what we focused on and then he’s just slippery when he starts moving around those screens.”
Sophomore Jaxon Retrum scored six points during the run and finished with eight in the game. It was Retrum and Adam Moen who were key rebounders and key outlet passers for the L-Cats during their run.
“Once we started moving the ball, it all opened up because we have five guys who can shoot, five guys who can dribble and five guys who can score,” Toepfer said. “It’s so much fun to play with those guys because anyone can go off at any point in time.”
In the early going, it looked like the L-Cats were going to need to rely on the shooting of junior Matt Johnson to get them going. Johnson made four 3-pointers in the first half and scored 14 points. Then Lake Mills started to feast on transition layups.
Twice in the final three possessions of the first half, Moen made outlet passes to Charlie Bender for wide open layups. The second layup at the buzzer gave Lake Mills a 50-26 lead at the break.
“(Moen) high-points those rebounds so well and then gets his head up to make a play right away,” Hicklin said. “We don’t have anyone who needs to look to get it to a guard after they get a rebound. Anyone can take the ball up the floor which allows everyone else to run ahead.”
“Adam is a freak athlete. He’s a Moen, so he has great genetics and is a freak athlete,” Toepfer said. “We work on that in practice to so it works in games: make great passes, don’t turn the ball over. That’s one of Hicklin’s key principles, don’t turn the ball over. He’s got a strong arm, so as long as he doesn’t turn it over, it’s good.”
Bender finished with 16 points and junior Mike Herrington scored 17 points, mostly in transition off of outlet passes.
“As soon as we get the rebound (they’re taking off),” Hicklin said. “They know that Adam and Jaxon, or whoever is going to get the rebound is going to be looking to pass the ball.”
It continued to work into the second half as the L-Cats started on a 16-6 run to pull away for good.
Most of the starters were pulled with more than 12 minutes to play. Junior Matt Johnson scored 14 of his 17 points in the first half. Toepfer didn’t score in the second half.
More than anything, the L-Cats were happier with their defensive effort which kept Milwaukee North out of the paint and limited most possessions to one shot.
“(Milwaukee) Riverside was really a wakeup that we need to defend better. We have the offense to be able to play with anybody,” Toepfer said. “We felt good after that Stoughton win (last week) because they had the 6-7 kid and another taller kid and we came out against Riverside and didn’t play to the level of our standard.”
Lake Mills continues its season on the road against Poynette on Friday beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Don Kerr Gymnasium.
LAKE MILLS 84, MILWAUKEE NORTH 46
Milwaukee North 26 20 — 46
Lake Mills 50 34 — 84
Milwaukee North (fg-ft-tp) — Cameron 2-0-4, Lee 7-2-18, Barn 2-1-5, Snipes 1-0-3, Boatman 3-2-9, Murrell 1-0-2, Turner 1-0-3, Carter 1-0-2. Totals — 18-5-46.
Lake Mills (fg-ft-tp) — Herrington 7-2-17, Toepfer 4-3-11, Stoddard 0-2-2, Giombotti 0-1-1, Retrum 5-1-11, Moen 3-1-8, Bender 7-0-16, Johnson 6-0-17, Horkan 0-1-1. Totals — 32-11-84.
3-pointers — MN, Lee 2, Snipes, Boatman, Turner; LM, Herrington, Moen, Bender 2, Johnson 5.
Total Fouls — MN 8, LM 17.