Okoboji boys down Wolves in overtime
Thursday's intra-county matchup between Okoboji and Harris-Lake Park did not disappoint, as the Pioneers and Wolves needed an extra quarter to decide things in non-conference boys basketball action in Lake Park.
In the end, however, experience topped youth as Okoboji senior Logan Abrahamson muscled his way in over Wolves freshman Bubba Sohn for the game-winner in overtime. Abrahamson made the bucket, drew contact, and knocked down the free throw to give his team a 55-52 win.
It was a mismatch that first-year coach Ryan Stumbo noticed early on in the game.
"It's something that we saw a little bit in the second quarter," Stumbo said. "We wanted to expose that on that last inbounds play. Logan made a great catch and had a good look in the paint. We were preaching to be tough around the rim and finish strong. He did that and that was huge."
Abrahamson finished with a team-high 18 points, eight rebounds and two steals.
Harris-Lake Park coach Jeff Sohn said he was pleased with how his young guys continued to compete.
"We just gotta have our young guys step up and be ready to compete. I thought they did that tonight. I really did," he said. "I was proud of them. You can just tell the difference. Logan Abrahamson is a senior and he's posting up my kid and probably has him by 30 or 40 pounds and he's stronger. That's the bottom line. That was the difference in that game."
The game was back-and-forth from the very start, as a pair of three-pointers by Bret Sohn gave the Wolves an 18-14 lead after one quarter of play. The hosts stretched their lead to six with a 16-14 score in the second quarter.
Scoring slowed for the Wolves in the second half, however, as the Pioneers held Harris-Lake Park to six third-quarter points and stormed back to take a 42-40 lead into the fourth quarter. There, the two teams combined for just 10 points, as the Wolves knotted the game at 46-46 at the end of regulation.
In overtime, Okoboji's Izic Brouwer gave his team a two-point lead with a free throw, but Bubba Sohn answered with a bucket to knot it at 52-52.
The Pioneers missed a shot with 8 seconds remaining, but the ball was deflected out of bounds by the Wolves, setting up the game-winner for Okoboji and Abrahamson connected.
"I just thought it was a heck of a battle between two teams that are very evenly matched, really," Coach Sohn said. "They probably have a little bit of an advantage of us inside, but guard-wise we're pretty even. It was a good basketball game. I thought it was a great test for us. It was our first night to see this group out on the floor and I thought the positive things we did definitely outweighed the negative. Obviously, we came up on the short end, but we did a lot of good things.
"I'm proud of the way our guys competed. Okoboji is a solid squad. Give them a lot of credit for getting the (win)."
Harris-Lake Park's Bret Sohn led all scorers with 24 points and had a game-high 10 rebounds on the night. Bubba Sohn had nine points, six assists, three boards and a steal. Isaac Ihnen had nine points and three assists. Bryce Perkins had nine rebounds for the Wolves.
Okoboji sophomore Jamison Helmers finished with 14 points, five boards and a steal. Cris Halbur had eight points and two assists. Brouwer had seven points and seven rebounds.
It was the first win for the Pioneers this season and the first win of Stumbo's coaching tenure.
"It felt really, really good for our guys," he said. "It was a tough battle; a really hard-earned win. Our guys feel good about it. Credit to Harris-Lake Park. They just played so scrappy. It was a good win for us and a good game overall."
Stumbo said he is happy to see his team start to click.
"There's definitely a lot of new elements and this is a new team going into the year," he said. "But I've just been so impressed with our leadership throughout all of our guys. Our upperclassmen have been phenomenal at helping our younger kids feel comfortable and being examples for them on the court. They all feed off of each other. They all lead one another. It's something that we believe in. We saw that coming together tonight in crunch time."