By Lucas Knutson
MINNEOTA - With a loud and enthusiastic crowd supporting them Thursday night, the ninth-seeded Lakeview Lakers jumped out to a quick 15-1 lead, built a 29-9 halftime advantage and cruised to a 60-34 victory over the eighth-seeded Minneota Vikings in the opening round of the Section 3A-North high school boys' basketball tournament.
Photo by Lucas Knutson
Lakeview senior guard Daniel Bakker, right, defends Minneota’s Jacob Bottelberghe during the first half of Thursday night’s Section 3A-North playoff game at Minneota High School. Bakker scored 18 points to help Lakeview to the win.
Daniel Bakker poured in 18 points to spark Lakeview (6-19 overall), while Jamie Unke (12 points, 10 assists) and Jordan Breyfogle (12 points, 12 rebounds) each produced a double-double to help the Lakers advance to Saturday's sub-section quarterfinals in Montevideo where they will take on top-seeded Dawson-Boyd at 11 a.m.
"This was a great win, as we finally put the whole thing together and played the way that we are capable of playing," Lakeview head coach Dan Hoffman said after the game. "We came out with a lot of intensity and our confidence grew as the game progressed and our lead got bigger. We did everything that we've been working on in practice, and I'm just really proud of the way that our guys came out and executed on both ends of the floor."
Minneota, which ends the year with a record of 6-20, claimed an 82-53 home-court victory over Lakeview in the teams' only regular-season meeting back on Jan. 26. Thursday's outcome, though, yielded a huge 55-point turnaround from that previous matchup.
Derek Larsen 2 1-2 6, Jamie Unke 4 2-2 12, Tyler Lange 1 0-0 2, Jordan Breyfogle 5 2-2 12, Daniel Bakker 7 1-2 18, Spencer Larsen 3 2-4 8, Jonah Dovre 1 0-0 2. Totals 23 8-12 60. Three-Pointers 6 (Bakker 3, Unke 2, D. Larsen 1) Rebounds 30 (Breyfogle 12), Assists 19 (Unke 10, D. Larsen 5) Steals 15 (D. Larsen 4, Bakker 3, S. Larsen 3) Blocks 7 (Breyfogle 2, S. Larsen 2, Dovre 2) Turnovers 4 Total Fouls 14.
Aaric Christenson 0 2-2 2, Lee Bot 2 2-3 7, Jacob Bottelberghe 2 0-0 5, Austin Buysse 1 0-0 3, David Noyes 1 1-3 3, Grant Hennen 3 3-5 9, Collin Kor 1 1-2 3, Cal Swedzinski 1 0-0 2. Totals 11 9-15 34. Three-Pointers 3 (Bot 1, Bottelberghe 1, Buysse 1) Rebounds 34 (Hennen 11, Noyes 9) Assists 4 (Daniel Harrison 2) Steals 2 Blocks 3 (Kor 2) Turnovers 17 Total Fouls 13.
Halftime Score: Lakeview 29, Minneota 9.
"We did not play well at all," summed up veteran Minneota head coach Val Whipple, who is retiring after more than 40 years on the bench. "But I thought that Lakeview sure played inspired basketball as a team and really worked hard, coming up with lots of rebounds, steals and loose balls. They definitely outplayed us in this one and deserved to win the game."
Lakeview got things rolling its way with 11 straight points out of the gate, beginning with a left-wing three-pointer by Bakker. Breyfogle followed with a strong offensive-rebound basket and a 15-footer, while Spencer Larsen (eight points) and Unke netted two free throws apiece to stake the Lakers to an 11-0 lead with 13:31 remaining in the first half.
Minneota, which was just 2-for-16 from the field in the first half, didn't score until David Noyes (nine rebounds) hit one of two free throws at the 12:19 mark. The Vikings' first basket came when Lee Bot meshed an 18-foot jumper from out top with 9:41 on the clock.
Meanwhile, Lakeview continued to control the action and took a 15-1 lead behind a runner in the lane by Unke and an 18-footer from the right wing by Bakker. A long three-pointer from the left wing by Unke gave the Lakers, who dished out 19 assists and committed just four turnovers as a team, an 18-3 lead with 9:11 to go.
Bakker and Unke kept on knocking down shots from a variety of spots, as Lakeview was up 25-5 by the 7:04 mark. Derek Larsen, who charted six points, five assists and four steals, added a three-pointer from the top of the key to push the margin to 28-7 with 4:42 left.
"We can be a tough team when we stop people defensively and hit the open shots like we did tonight," Hoffman said. "We didn't give Minneota too many good looks at the basket in the first half and we moved the ball well offensively, showing nice patience and aggressiveness."
The Lakers extended their 29-9 halftime lead to 35-12 within the initial two minutes of the second half, as Breyfogle and Derek Larsen connected on mid-range shots. Derek Larsen then came up with a steal and dished to Bakker for a nifty fast-break basket to force a Vikings' timeout.
Minneota's Jacob Bottelberghe and Austin Buysse fired in back-to-back three-pointers to make it 35-18, but Lakeview prevented any further rally and widened the gap to 45-23 on the strength of a pair of three-pointers by Bakker.
With less than 10 minutes to play, the Lakers stayed in command and built a trio of 28-point bulges (56-28, 58-30 and 60-32). Spencer Larsen scored twice inside off feeds from Unke and Derek Larsen, while Jonah Dovre and Tyler Lange each scored in the paint to complete Lakeview's highlights.
Minneota's Grant Hennen (11 rebounds) scored five of his team-best nine points in the second half, while Aaric Christenson, Collin Kor and Cal Swedzinski also got into the scoring column for the Vikings.