Wolves earn come-from-behind win over Pioneers
In a battle of Dickinson County rivals, Harris-Lake Park erased a 23-9 deficit to top Okoboji 78-70 in a non-conference hoops clash Thursday in Milford.
The Wolves outscored the Pioneers 22-14 in the second, 23-16 in the third and 24-17 in the fourth to salt away the eight-point victory.
"Overall, I thought I it was a great effort by everyone that got into the game," Harris-Lake Park coach Jeff Sohn said. "We got off to a sluggish start, missing quite a few easy buckets in the first quarter and did not close out well defensively on their shooters. However, the guys kept battling, found a way to take the lead in the fourth quarter, and made enough free throws and plays down the stretch to get the W."
The Pioneers' pressure defense stymied the Wolves' offensive flow early on, but Harris-Lake Park sophomore Bubba Sohn and junior Isaac Ihnen eventually got loose, combining for 57 points in the win. Ihnen led all scorers with 29 points. He also had seven rebounds, three assists, and a steal. Sohn had 28 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three steals.
"I was proud of the way our guys started the game," Okoboji coach Ryan Stumbo said. "We came out with good intensity and defensive effort, and it showed early on. Our guys played with a lot of heart and continued to battle all game long. H-LP deserves a lot of credit for fighting their way back into the game, and (Bubba) Sohn and (Isaac) Ihnen made some nice plays and hit some big shots throughout the game to never let us pull away with it."
Harris-Lake Park junior Julian Burdorf finished with 12 points, two rebounds and a steal. Junior Abdulla Elbuytari had four points, seven rebounds, three assists and a steal.
Coach Sohn was impressed with how his young team responded.
"I was particularly proud of the adversity we displayed after getting down 15 or so in the second quarter," he said. "Most of these guys have not been in that situation at the varsity level before and I thought they showed a lot of character and did a great job of chipping away at their lead. Overall, I was pleased with our effort against the Pioneers and look forward to building on this win."
With the win, the Wolves started the season 1-0. They returned to action Friday on the road against West Sioux and Tuesday at home against South O'Brien. Harris-Lake Park will host Akron-Westfield on Friday, Dec. 7, and Trinity Christian on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
Junior Jamison Helmers led the Pioneers with 20 points on Thursday. He also had eight rebounds and two assists.
Senior Cris Halbur had 17 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. Junior Kyle Martin had 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Freshman Lucas Lorenzen had 10 points, six rebounds and a steal.
"I love the energy and effort our guys bring to the table each and every night, and I need to do a better job as a coach helping us settle in defensively," Stumbo said. "We have a good opportunity to learn from this game as we move forward with our conference play."
With the loss, the Pioneers fell to 0-2 to start the season. They returned to action Friday on the road against Sheldon and Tuesday at home against Rock Valley. Okoboji will host MOC-Floyd Valley on Friday, Dec. 7, and Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire on Monday, Dec. 10, before traveling to take on Sibley-Ocheyedan on Tuesday, Dec. 11.