Lumberjacks put up a fight
TUPPER LAKE — The Tupper Lake boys basketball team put up a valiant effort at home Monday night, but were outmatched by Madrid-Waddington 60-42.
The Yellow Jackets jumped out to an early lead, grabbing more rebounds and utilizing quick transitions to get fast break points. The visitors also used stellar shooting to take an 11-4 lead midway through the quarter.
The quiet home crowd was roused by Tupper Lake senior Max LaClair late in the first when his open-handed, from-behind block under the hoop made the crowd erupt.
Jacob Stradley also got the crowd on its feet at the end of the quarter when he drained a 3-pointer from the left corner with just seconds left on the clock. It was Stradley’s only 3 of the night, but the sophomore went on to lead the Lumberjacks with 11 points. The Yellow Jackets ended the quarter with a 20-7 lead.
After the first break, Tupper Lake came into second having put on their scoring shoes. The young team — which only has four seniors — put up 15 points in the second to Madrid-Waddington’s 14 to go into the half down 34-22.
LaClair put his first points on the board in the second by draining the first of his three 3-pointers. LaClair’s nine points was second best for the Lumberjacks in the game. Kameron Sarvis and Bradley McLear each sank a 3 in the second, and Sarvis added another two points on his way to eight points on the night. Junior Noah Cordes also contributed four points in the second.
After the half, the Yellow Jackets began to pull away again. Madrid-Waddington scored 17 points in the third quarter, including a pair of 3s from freshman Jacob Rice, who scored a total of 10 points in the quarter. LaClair scored the second of his 3s, but the rest of the Lumberjack squad was quiet, only putting 10 points on the board to end the quarter down 51-32.
Going into the fourth, sloppy passing and poor ball protection on both sides led to lots of steals for each squad. While the ‘Jacks outscored the Yellow Jackets 10-9 in the quarter, it was too little to stage a viable comeback.
Tupper Lake fell to 3-5 on the season with the loss, but coach Brian Bennett was pleased that his boys held an undefeated team to just 60.
“That is a team that is currently ranked top 10 in the state, [but] we played well,” Bennett said. “I was happy how we maintained a close game. I think we got hurt offensively, but keeping them to 60 points, I don’t think that was too bad defensively.
“I thought we played them well. Transition points killed us in the first half, and I thought we did better getting back on transition defense [in the second half].”
Although his team is 8-0 on the season, Madrid-Waddington’s coach Aaron Jones saw some things he liked and some things he didn’t.
“A little flat tonight [because] it’s been a long week; five games in eight days,” Jones said. “Tupper came out and played hard and they played well. They were well prepared.
“Any time you come out with a W after an hour and a half road trip, it’s nice. We ran the court in transition, which I thought was good. And the bench guys gave some good minutes, so I was happy with that.”
Sarvis also talked about the transition points Madrid-Waddington was able to score, and said that’s something the Lumberjacks will have to work on.
“Second half was really disappointing,” he said. “We tried to focus on getting back on defense, but we didn’t. We didn’t really get back, we’d celebrate our shots instead of focusing on defense.
“We’re going to have to work hard in practice. Definitely gotta get back on transition defense, that’s something we’ll have to work on.”
The Lumberjacks travel to Edwards-Knox on Thursday for their next game.