HANCOCK - Lake Linden-Hubbell had to go long, and then some, to get a second win of the season Monday night.
LL-H was effective enough in its full-court game to get into overtime with Hancock, and when the game ran long, the Lakes were strong, taking the non-league matchup 58-55.
With their unusually deep roster, LL-H coach Jack Kumpula said playing every foot of hardwood will be a key to his team's success both Monday and throughout the season.
Lake Linden-Hubbell’s Alex Knight attempts a lay-up as Hancock’s Alex Almquist contests during the fourth quarter of Friday’s game at Hancock. Almquist had his first career triple-double (29 points, 11 rebounds, 11 blocks) but the Lakes won 58-55 in overtime. (DMG photo by Brandon Veale)
"We knew that if we made this game a full-court game, we'd have a chance," he said.
And have a chance they did, scoring 18 points, many of them off steals in transition, in the first quarter to take the early lead. Hancock fought back in the second half, but only to a draw and in overtime, the Lakes' depth paid off even if their struggles at the free-throw line were enough to raise Kumpula's blood pressure.
The Bulldogs (0-3) could not capitalize on the first career triple-double for junior center Alex Almquist. He had 29 points, 11 rebounds and 11 blocks, but it fell shy of being enough for victory by a painfully thin margin. With his team down to five available players and just one serious scoring option, he drew iron from 3-point land at the end of overtime.
LL-Hubbell 18 11 9 10 10 - 58
Hancock 11 11 16 10 7 - 55
Lake Linden-Hubbell - Tyler Roose 21, Luke Monette 19, Cody Kumpula 9, Trent Ambuehl 4, Alex Knight 3, Konrad Klein 2; FT: 9-19; Fouls: 16; Fouled out: Ambuehl; 3-point field goals: Roose 2, Monette 1.
Hancock - Alex Almquist 29, Shane Raasio 15, Sean Patchin 5, Matt Yao 2, Brian Kass 2, Adrian Saterstad 2; FT: 12-18; Fouls: 21; Fouled out: Kass, Raasio; Technical foul: Kass; 3-point field goals: Raasio 2, Almquist 1.
"We didn't want to be in that position to begin with," Hancock coach Curtis Wittenberg said.
The Bulldogs quickly overturned their first-half deficit in just 2 1/2 minutes of the third quarter, but never led by more than two. After Luke Monette scored with 25 seconds left in regulation to tie it up for the eighth time in the second half, Shane Raasio missed a jumper from the left elbow as time ran out.
In overtime, Hancock took its only lead, 52-51 on Sean Patchin's free throw with 2:41 left before back-to-back Tyler Roose jumpers put the Lakes (2-0) up by three. Hancock had only one field goal in the first 3 1/2 minutes of overtime and probably wouldn't have even got its shot to tie had LL-H not missed the front end of a one-and-one three straight times.
Roose led LL-H with 21 points, while Monette added a big 19.
"We expect it from Tyler. He's just our go-to kid. Luke really chipped in with some good points tonight and even a kid who came off the bench, Alex Knight, on the boards in a tough situation with Almquist there, he did a nice job all night long," Kumpula said.
Almquist was a consistently impossible matchup all night despite the Lakes' attempts to deny him inside touches. But it was when he had someone to play off of, particularly early in the second half, that Hancock's offense was most effective.
"Shane Raasio was able to drive into the paint and when he was driving into the paint, they were helping out, which left Alex open," Wittenberg said.
Raasio finished with 15, but fouled out just before the last play of the game.
With a trip to Houghton scheduled Thursday, Wittenberg said his team must figure out what it must do to overcome this season-opening rash of three close losses by a combined 14 points.
"That's what I'm waiting to find out. Within each individual, can we come together as a group, can we come together as group to do the little things and win a game like this?"
The Lakes, who won the JV?game, go to Calumet next Monday with a chance to equal their win total from last season before 2012 is out.
"It was a complete team effort. We're pointing out some kids (for credit), but we played 10, 11 kids and they played hard," Kumpula said.