Ontonagon uses size advantage to beat LL-H, earn spot in district final against Dollar Bay

Ed Polakowski of Ontonagon puts up a short shot in Wednesday’s Class D semifinal game versus Lake Linden-Hubbell. The Gladiators advanced to the title game with a 64-47 win. (Paul Peterson photo)

DOLLAR BAY — Ontonagon used its superior edge in size to roll to a 64-47 win over Lake Linden-Hubbell Wednesday night in Class D district play in Dollar Bay.

The final score wasn’t indicative Ontonagon’s total edge in the game.

“I subbed a lot more than I usually do tonight,” Ontonagon coach Andy Borseth said. “We wanted to give everyone on the bench some experience, and give the starters a little rest for Friday night.”

The Gladiators will meet tourney favorite Dollar Bay Friday night and Borseth knows his team needs to play a complete game.

“Dollar Bay is such an explosive team, we have to be ready,” Borseth said. “I told the boys to be ready for the first four or five minutes of chaos. If we can do that, it should be a good game.”

The Gladiators have already given the Bolts two of the toughest games of the season, losing both.

In last night’s game, the Glads used a flurry of 3-point baskets to forge a 22-6 lead after one quarter.

LL-H coach Jack Kumpula said Ontonagon’s success from outside (four 3s in the opening quarter) forced a switch on defense.

“They (Gladiators) kept knocking down those outside shots,” Kumpula said. “But we knew they could go inside if we got out of it.”

James Domitrovich and Brendan Buzzo each canned two 3s in the opening two quarters

That all added up to a 40-17 lead at intermission.

The scrappy Lakes, behind 12 points from Carter Crouch, made some inroads on the lead in the second half. But they never were within serious striking range.

Tanner Balcomb paced the winners with 18 points — 16 of those coming in the opening half.

“We shot the ball well from outside,” Borseth said. “Hopefully, we can continue that.”

Ed Polakowski was next in line for the 11-11 Gladiators with 14 points. The 6-foot-5 center also nabbed a game-leading 12 rebounds. Domitrovich and Buzzo each had eight points.

Crouch netted 19 points for the Lakes, who close with a 4-17 mark. Caleb Gregoire managed 10 more, while Ben Wilson notched nine.

“It was a tough season,” Kumpula said. “But we’ve got everyone coming back next season and that’s something to look forward to.”

The championship game will start at 7 p.m. Friday.

– – –

Ontonagon 22 18 15 9 — 64

LL-H 6 11 14 16 — 47

ONTONAGON — Weisinger 3, Polakowski 14, Domitrovich 8, Balcomb 18, Pollard 3, Buzzo 8, Soumis 2, H. Menigoz 6, Blake 2. FT: 3-6; Rebounds: 32 (Polakowski 12); Fouls: 12; Fouled out: None; 3-point FG: Buzzo 2, Domitrovich 2, Balcomb 1, Weisinger 1, Menigoz 1.

LL-HUBBELL — Crouch 19, Cole Gregoire 3, Hill 2, Lyons 3, Wilson 9, Caleb Gregoire 9, Simpson 2, Huuki 2. FT: 5-8; Rebounds: 19 (Crouch 5); Fouls: 6; Fouled out: None; 3-point FG: Crouch 2, Wilson 2, Lyons 1.