Ontonagon defeats LL-H 54-41 to open district tournament

Ontonagon's Holly Wardynski goes up for a layup as Lake Linden-Hubbell's Erin Seppala (12) defends during a Class D district opener Monday in Painesdale. (David Archambeau/Daily Mining Gazette)

PAINESDALE — A young but poised Ontonagon squad made most of the major plays on the way to a 54-41 opening round Class D district win over Lake Linden-Hubbell Monday night.

Ontonagon coach Dick Franti said his team didn’t play a perfect game but played well enough.

“It wasn’t perfection, but it was good enough,” Franti said. “At this stage of the season, we’ll certainly take it.”

Ontonagon’s strategy was to hit some shots from outside to open up the Lakes zone.

“Their zone gave us a lot of trouble in the first game we played them,” Franti said. “Tonight, we hit some and got them out of the zone.”

Of the first eight shots made by the Gladiators in the opening quarter, three came from 3-point range. Two of the 3s came from Izabelle Lutz and paved the way for a 19-10 lead after eight minutes.

The Lakes, victimized by their own mistakes, appeared rattled by constant pressure from Ontonagon.

“We didn’t handle the pressure very well at all,” LL-H coach Maureen Schick said. “It was a repeat of what we’ve done all season.”

Down 27-19 at the half, the Lakes were still in contention at 27-20 early in the third quarter.

But a 14-2 run by the Maroon and White effectively put the game away. Jenny Labyak had 10 points in the period, which ended with Ontonagon holding a 44-26 margin.

Franti was able to use his bench extensively in the final frame.

“It’s always nice to get your bench players some time in a tourney game,” he said.

Labyak led the Gladiators with 16 points, with Holly Wardynski putting in 13 and Lutz netting 12.

Mackenzie Fredrickson drew the praise of her coach for some good defensive work.

“It didn’t show up in the scorebook, but she (Fredrickson) really played with a lot of energy tonight,” Franti said. “Good defense on her part.”

Erin Seppala was tops for the 5-16 Lakes with 10 points. Laura Lyons and Mackenzie LePage each put in nine points. Kierstyn Codere added eight points and seven rebounds.

Schick said her team has to adopt a different work ethic in the offseason if it is to improve.

“We’ve got to get to more open gyms and work on our individual games,” she said. “That’s the only way to get better.”

Ontonagon will meet Dollar Bay Wednesday in a semifinal game.

– – –

Ontonagon 19 6 17 7 — 54

LL-H 10 9 7 15 — 41

ONTONAGON — Lutz 12, E. Menigoz 2, Labyak 16, T. Menigoz 2, Laingren 2, Wardynski 13, Fredrickson 6, Lukkari 2. FT: 10-23; Rebounds: 25 (Wardynski 7), Fouls: 18; Fouled out: None; 3-point FG: Lutz 3, Wardzysnki 1.

LL-HUBBELL — Lyons 9, Seppala 10, K. Codere 8, LePage 9, Perala 2, Keranen 1, Destrampe 2. FT:12-18; Rebounds: 22 (K. Codere 8); Fouls: 13; Fouled out: K. Codere; 3-point FG: Seppala 2, LePage 1.