Tiger boys defeat LadysmithMAPLE — The Northwestern High School boys basketball team started off the second half of its season with a 59-32 victory over the Ladysmith Lumberjacks. Northwestern fell to the Lumberjacks in overtime when the teams faced off earlier this season, but on Friday night the Tigers took a nine-point lead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back.
MAPLE — The Northwestern High School boys basketball team started off the second half of its season with a 59-32 victory over the Ladysmith Lumberjacks.
Northwestern fell to the Lumberjacks in overtime when the teams faced off earlier this season, but on Friday night the Tigers took a nine-point lead by the end of the first quarter and never looked back.
“We were just a lot more patient tonight,” said Dave Gustafson, head coach of the Tigers. “There’s been a lot of close games, and I told the guys that we’re close to being a good team — just executing on those little things. We’re getting better and better, and this was a good way to start the second half of the season.”
Leading the way for Northwestern were seniors Dylan Jardine and Micah Olson. Together they combined to score 44 points, with Jardine anchoring the Tigers’ game in the post and Olson connecting from the perimeter.
“We were just able to do what we wanted to do on offense: get the ball inside to our big guys and then when they collapse kick it outside and get open looks,” Olson said.
Against the Lumberjacks, Olson had the hot hand at the arc. He had all three of the Tigers’ 3-pointers for the night, including two in the first quarter.
“Mostly everybody can shoot the three, even our big guys can step out and shoot it,” Olson said. “It’s just whoever’s open.”
Northwestern jumped out to an 8-0 lead Friday as the Lumberjacks struggled to match up with 6-foot-7 Jardine under the basket. The senior made the first two baskets of the games on lobs to the right block, and Grant Pearson added a steal and layup to make it 6-0. Jardine then scored the Tigers’ fourth consecutive basket in the paint at 4:51, which prompted the Lumberjacks to call for time.
Following the timeout, Dane Stunkel gave Ladysmith its first points of the night by knocking down a 3-pointer. Olson answered with a put-back and two 3-pointers in the next two minutes to give NHS a 16-5 lead, and Tanner Follis increased the lead to 13 with an inside shot on the next possession.
Ladysmith rallied in the final two minutes, outscoring the Tigers 7-3, but still trailed 21-12 at the end of the first quarter.
Northwestern’s defense preserved the lead for the rest of the game. The Tigers used a mix of zone and man-to-man against Ladysmith to force the Lumberjacks to the perimeter.
In the second quarter, Northwestern allowed the Lumberjacks only two field goals and held them to six points. The Tigers gave up the same totals in the fourth quarter.
The only defensive lapse for Northwestern came in the third quarter, when Ladysmith’s Parker Titera three times slipped behind Northwestern’s defense for an open shot in the low post.
Titera ended the night as the leading scorer for the Lumberjacks with nine points. Liridon Sabani added seven points and Stunkel had six.
Jardine’s 24 points led Northwestern, and Olson finished with 20 points. Grant Pearson and Trevor Paulus added six points apiece, Follis had two and Jeffrey Priem made a free throw.
At the free-throw line, the Tiger finished 10-for-15, while the Lumberjacks were 2-for-7.
“We’re getting better every game,” Olson said. “We started off a little slower than we wanted to, but we’re getting to where we want to be for tournament time.”
Northwestern 21 14 15 9 — 59
Ladysmith 12 6 8 6 — 32
Northwestern — Dylan Jardine 24, Micah Olson 20, Grant Pearson 6, Trevor Paulus 6, Tanner Follis 2, Jeffrey Priem 1.
3-point goals — Olson 3.
Ladysmith — Parker Titera 9, Liridon Sabani 7, Dane Stunkel 6, Joey Jones 4, Mike Jansen 2, Trey Webb 2, Tyler Warwick 2.
3-point goals — Stunkel 2, Jones, Sabani.