Bulldogs beat Panthers

Published 10:11 pm Monday, January 19, 2015

Josh Peters of Lake Mills flips the ball to a teammate Monday against Central Springs. Peters scored 13 points and had six assists. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Josh Peters of Lake Mills dishes the ball to a teammate Monday against Central Springs. Peters scored 13 points and had six assists. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

LAKE MILLS — An early deficit was overcome with a vengeance by the Lake Mills boys’ basketball team to keep its home record unblemished.

The Bulldogs (9-3 overall, 8-3 North Iowa Conference) trailed 12-6 midway through the first quarter. However, Lake Mills not only erased its deficit, it went on a 39-4 run to build a 29-point halftime lead.

An aggressive full-court press spurred the scoring barrage and propelled the Bulldogs past Central Springs 76-36 Monday at Lake Mills.

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“We wanted to work on some things with the press tonight,” said Lake Mills coach Kyle Menke. “We forced a lot of turnovers and did some good things. We got the speed of the game up, and we’re usually a team that plays a lot better at a quick pace.”

At the end of the first quarter, the Bulldogs led 18-12, but it was the second quarter that knocked the wind out of the Panthers. In the second eight-minute quarter, Lake Mills outscored Central Springs 27-4.

Unselfish passing was a major factor.

“I really thought our guys did a good job — as they always do — of sharing the ball and looking to make the extra pass,” Menke said. “That’s what our program is known for, and these kids do a nice job of looking for each other.”

At halftime, two players for Lake Mills reached double figures in scoring: Granger Kingland scored 13 of his 20 points in the first half, and Josh Peters scored 11 of his 13.

The Bulldogs’ roster looks different this year without Kingland’s brother, Hunter, who is a freshman at Bethel University in St. Paul. Hunter averaged 15.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game last season for Lake Mills.

Kingland’s role changed this year, and his scoring average shot up from 11.7 points per game to 22.7.

“Last year, I was strictly a 3-point shooter,” Kingland said. “Now, I have to drive and be more of a leader this year. It’s quite a bit different without him.”

Kingland has the 11th-most made 3-pointers in Class 2A with 32, which doesn’t include stats for the last two games. Out of those 11 players, Kingland is tied with Payton James of Garner-Hayfield/Ventura with the top 3-point percentage: 50 percent.

After Lake Mills took a 32-point lead with a 3-pointer by Charlie Dugger on the Bulldogs’ first possession of the second half, the team’s starters were able to watch from the bench.

“We’ve got a hard-working group of 14 varsity players, and it was fun for them all to be able to contribute to this win,” Menke said.

The Bulldogs were coming off an 86-73 loss Friday at Forest City after beating the same team 66-60 Dec. 5, 2014, at home. Menke said his team had trouble getting stops but showed defensive improvement against Central Springs.

“The guys did a good job of getting deflections and just being real active in the passing lanes,” he said. “That leads to some nice transition opportunities.”

Next, Lake Mills will play at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Bishop Garrigan (8-4 overall). The Bulldogs beat the Golden Bears 76-56 Dec. 12, 2014, in their first meeting this season.