LAKE LINDEN - The Lake Linden-Hubbell boys' basketball team rotation goes deeper than any other team in the Copper Country Conference, routinely playing 11 or 12 guys a game.
Lakes coach Jack Kumpula knows this, and makes sure to press his one certain advantage for 32 minutes, pressing full-court defensively after every made basket and dead ball.
While CCC opponent Chassell enjoyed moderate success against Lakes zone trap Monday night, the Panthers failed to adjust to the full-court man-to-man LL-H employed in the second and third quarters as Lake Linden ran the Panthers out of the gym with a 66-38 victory.
Lake Linden-Hubbell sophomore guard Tyler Roose rises for a jumper Monday night over Chassell’s Carson Ryynanen. Roose finished with a career-high 29 points. (DMG photo by Michael Bleach)
"We take great pride in our defense," Kumpula said. "That is what this team is built on. We are going to be tough to score on if every kid is giving the effort they did tonight."
The Lakes supplemented some suffocating full-court defense with a dynamic and dominant offensive performance from guard Tyler Roose. The sophomore poured in a career-high 29 points on 10-of-18 shooting, knocking down two threes and a variety of runners and pull-ups.
Roose was at the heart of LL-H's press as well, coming up with a team-high four steals and converting three of them into transition layups. The smooth-shooting righty now leads the team with 21 points per game.
Chassell 9 9 10 10 - 38
LL-Hubbell 12 20 21 13 - 66
Chassell - Josh Pietila 3, Carson Ryynanen 14, Jordan LaTendresse 6, Evan Huhta 15; FT: 7-12; Fouls: 20; Three-point field goals: Ryynanen 1.
Lake Linden-Hubbell - Coy Budweg 2, Cole Beauchamp 13, Trent Ambuehl 7, Brett Poissant 6, Tyler Roose 29, Alex Knight 2, Konrad Klein 4, Eric Seppala 1, Ryan Knoll 2; FT: 15-24; Fouls: 9; Three-point field goals: Beauchamp 3, Roose 2.
"He is just a very good player and he is a sophomore on top of that," Chassell coach Steve Spahn said. "I'm not sure he missed after halftime. He is so strong with the ball, he has a beautiful release and he can score from the three-point line in. Just a very good player."
After a close 12-9 lead at halftime, the Lakes exploded for 20 points in the second quarter and then another 21 in the third.
The shift in the game came when the Lakes switched from their zone-trap to a straight full-court man-to-man look.
"I thought we did a good job just getting on them and working hard," Roose said. "It was a good team effort."
LL-H forced 17 steals for the contest with the Chassell guards never given a moment to breathe.
"(Chassell) actually did a really nice job on our (zone) press," Kumpula said. "So we got out of that and just played full court man-to-man. That is what we did at the end of the second quarter when we made our run and through the third quarter then. We have to make the floor 84 feet, so if they break our (zone) press we will just pick up man full court."
Where Chassell failed to contain Roose, the Lakes bottled up Panthers leading scorer Carson Ryynanen.
The 6-foot senior guard finished with 14 points, but it took him 18 shots to get there. Lakes junior forward Konrad Klein drew the tough assignment, but made Ryynanen work to get his shots in the lane.
"(Klein) is basically a post kid, but he is so quick and strong," Kumpula said. "And he drew their best ball player. He did a really good job. He works hard defensively."
Chassell was led by Evan Huhta's 15 points and 12 rebounds.