Boys basketball: Wolverines dominate Panthers in 61-39 home win
Teshe Loer lit the offensive fire with an acrobatic layup for the first points of the game, and the Wolverines (18-7, 6-4 Section 8AA) never looked back.
WADENA — Wadena-Deer Creek’s two standout junior guards Teshe Loer and Peyton Church combined for 28 points – almost half of the Wolverines’ total – in a blowout 61-39 home win over the Park Rapids Panthers Thursday night.
Loer lit the offensive fire with an acrobatic layup for the first points of the game, and the Wolverines (18-7, 6-4 Section 8AA) never looked back. Behind a combined attack including Loer, Kobe Snyder, Isaac Hamann and Josiah Kallevig, WDC raced to a 33-17 first half lead.
Within the first six minutes of the first half, WDC had built a 15-1 lead before the Panthers (5-20) got their first field goal – junior Noah Larson took a steal the length of the court for a layup for two.
That finally seemed to break the scoring seal for Park Rapids, but it was too little, too late. The damage was already done, and the Panthers never seriously challenged the Wolverines for the win.
WDC head coach Kevin Tumberg said he challenged his team to come out with a defensive intensity against Park Rapids, after they survived against Section 8AA opponent Frazee on Tuesday night 66-58. He said they faltered on defense, and it showed in how they had to grind out that win.
“One big thing we focused on was we wanted to come out with defensive intensity,” Tumberg said. “We emphasized that before the game, and the guys executed it flawlessly. If you can start out like that, you have nothing but confidence in your team.”
Tumberg said that in scouting video, the Panthers showed that they would alternate between a man-to-man defense and a zone. But once Park Rapids came out in their man defense in the first half, he said the Wolverines pounced.
“We saw them come out in man, and we went to work,” he said. “We were happy with that.”
The early moments of the second half must have felt like deja vu to the Panthers as Loer led the Wolverines down the floor, drove the lane and sank another acrobatic layup for the first two points of the second frame as well.
Tumberg said that Loer is the offensive sparkplug for the Wolverines, and when he’s on fire, the team is hard to stop. “He’s the guy that makes us go,” Tumberg said.
When Church heated up in the second half alongside Loer, there was no way that Park Rapids was catching up. Church poured in eight of his 11 points in the second half.
Tumberg agreed that the selflessness of his team is a key to their offense. He said they have focused all year on “giving up the good shot for the great one,” and that was evident Thursday night. There were multiple times when an open player was hit with a well-timed pass only to see him give up a second pass to a teammate who was even more open. The hard work is certainly paying off.
The Wolverines play at home again tonight at 7:30 p.m. against Parkers Prairie in the regular season finale.
DETROIT LAKES – Teshe Loer: 17 points, 4 rebounds; Lyrik Haug: 4 points, 7 rebounds; Emonie Hammond: 1 steal; Kobe Snyder: 5 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals; D’Andre Hammond: 1 rebound; Isaac Hamann: 5 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal; Josiah Kallevig: 6 points, 1 block, 5 rebounds; Peyton Church: 11 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal; Phillip Ross: 5 points, 2 rebounds; Eshetu Loer: 1 rebound; Nathaniel Peterson: 7 points, 7 rebounds, 1 steal; Dylan Wirth: 1 steal.