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Wolves win with defense
Byline info is not available
Monday, March 03, 2014 6:00 PM
Stephenson’s Levi Brock is trapped by Carney-Nadeau’s Austin Johnson, left, and Dionte Blahnik in the second half Monday night in Carney.
CARNEY - Good defense more than offset a bad shooting night by the Carney-Nadeau boys' basketball team Monday night.
The Wolves beat Stephenson 64-30 in a Class D District 126 opener.
Carney-Nadeau sank just 21 of 72 shots from the field, but the Wolves forced 32 turnovers with their full-court pressure.
"Our defense was key tonight," Wolves coach Jake Polfus said. "We have to learn in tournament time you're not always going to shoot the ball well. I think we played good defense."
The Wolves played a man-to-man but mixed in some zone presses. Stephenson was rattled from the opening minutes. The Eagles committed nine turnovers in the first quarter and 10 in the second period.
"That's been the story of our season," Stephenson coach Joe Simon said. "We've got to really work on our strength, We're not able to handle the ball, handle the pressure."
Carney-Nadeau (17-4) will play at Bark-River Harris on Wednesday.
Before the Wolves started misfiring, they built a comfortable lead. Within a 30-second stretch late in the first quarter, Keenan Lampinen hit a 3-pointer and Dionte Blahnik scored twice off steals to give the Wolves a 17-2 lead.
Carney-Nadeau hit eight of 16 first-quarter shots. The Wolves were just four of 20 in the second period, but Stephenson had just seven shot attempts. The Eagles were just eight of 43 from the field.
"They got a lead so we had to play catch-up," Simon said. "That's not really our game. Our game plan was to slow it down."
Instead, the Wolves forced their usual breakneck pace. Their plan was to trap the first pass, and keep the ball out of senior Levi Brock's hands.
"We tried to pressure them as much as we could," Polfus said. "They're starting to work more as a unit."
Brock's NBA range 3-pointer pulled the Eagles within 33-19 early in the second half. Connor Cappaert's bucket cut the lead to 37-23.
The Wolves were just nine of 36 from the field in the second half.
"Shooting-wise not very good, but we had a better defensive night," Blahnik said. "It might have been just nerves. We were getting all the open shots we wanted. Just didn't knock 'em down."
Lampinen hit back-to-back threes as the Wolves opened up a 51-28 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Blahnik finished with 18 points, Lampinen scored 13 and Manuel Duran added 11.
"I'm happy now the first game's out of the way," Polfus said. "I hope our shooting will come through, and I think it will."
Brandon Kau led the Eagles (1-19) with 12 points and a handful of blocks. Brock added 11.
"This summer we've got to change the culture," Simon said. "A lot of kids, they never touched the ball in the summer. They've got the talent. They've just got to get more strength so we can use our talent."
STEPHENSON (30) - Cappaert 5, Brock 11, Raboin 0, Rasner 0, Hanson 0, Newlin 0, Bayerl 0, Wehner 0, Starzynski 0, Kau 12, Foley 0. FGs: 8-43; FTs: 11-16
CARNEY-NADEAU (64) Duran 11, DuPont 7, Johnson 8, Blahnik 18, Logan Forgette 0, Lampinen 13, Lucas Forgette 3, Knaus 2, Selken 2. FGs: 21-72; FTs: 13-20
Stephenson 2 11 13 4 - 30
Carney-Nadeau 19 12 14 19 - 64
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