Prep boys basketball: Luverne runs on Heron Lake-Okabena

OKABENA -- Erik Wohnoutka said he's been struggling to find his shot in the past few games. But an adjustment prior to Monday night's game made all the difference for the senior guard on Luverne's boys basketball team. "The first game I did prett...

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AARON HAGEN/DAILY GLOBE Luverne’s Nicholas Overgaard (2) puts up a shot over Travis Behrends (5) and Alex Baumann (4) of Heron Lake-Okabena Monday in Okabena. Overgaard tallied a game-high 18 points.

OKABENA - Erik Wohnoutka said he’s been struggling to find his shot in the past few games.
But an adjustment prior to Monday night’s game made all the difference for the senior guard on Luverne’s boys basketball team.
“The first game I did pretty well, then the last couple my shot wasn’t falling,” Wohnoutka said following the Cardinals’ 83-56 victory over Heron Lake-Okabena. “I was short on a lot. Coaches told me what to fix and I came out more relaxed tonight and shot the ball well. I had to get more legs into my shot and really focus on my follow-through.”
Wohnoutka finished with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the floor.
“It felt good contributing to the team,” he said. “It was good having my teammates trust me again.”
The Cardinals (3-2), who had 21 steals in the game, used a stifling full-court defense to wreak havoc on the Wildcats (1-3).
“Overall, we played pretty well,” Luverne senior Nicholas Overgaard said. “We had good offense and a lot of it came from the defensive end. We got a lot of steals and a lot of quick baskets and ended up with the W. It’s always fun if you get to run a little bit. When you succeed with putting pressure on the opposing team, it makes it a lot easier on yourself. It makes it a lot more fun because you get quick baskets. That’s a lot more fun than setting the offense up.”
Overgaard finished with a game-high 18 points for Luverne, while Quinton Siebenahler scored 11 points.
“It takes the load off the shoulders of one specific person,” Wohnoutka said of the balanced scoring. “I think it contributes to how well we’re passing the ball. We’re playing unselfish basketball.”
Luverne had a total of 24 assists on 31 field goals, led by Wohnoutka’s eight and Siebenahler with five.
“I pride myself on assists,” said Wohnoutka, who added a team-high five steals. “I like assists more than points. I like to give the ball to my team members.”
The Cardinals and Wildcats played evenly through the first six minutes of the game, with Luverne holding a slim 13-10 lead. However, Overgaard made a triple, Wohnoutka converted a steal into a layup and Overgaard made another triple as LHS led 21-10 – forcing an HL-O timeout.
“We switched to more of a trapping defense and that got us a lot of easy baskets,” LHS head coach John Sichmeller said. “We didn’t want to let them set up in the half-court. So anytime they passed or anything they did, we basically went to a trap. That got us going offensively, we made some shots and it kind of took care of itself.”
Out of the timeout, Wohnoutka scored five quick points, and after two free throws by Siebenahler, Wohnoutka made a jumper as he scored nine points in a span of three minutes, leading Luverne on an 18-0 run.
A 3-pointer from Travis Behrends (team-high15 points, eight rebounds, four assists) got the Wildcats on the board, but Wohnoutka answered with another triple as the teams traded baskets. Luverne took a 50-19 lead into halftime.
“We tried to slow them down and make them think a little bit,” Overgaard said. “Once they started thinking, we tried to steal the ball off a bad pass. It was a good night on the floor. We had a lot of close shots and a lot of high-percentage shots and that’s always good for us.”
Matthew Poppe (14 points, nine rebounds) scored eight of the first 10 points for the Wildcats out of the break as HL-O slowly chipped away at the lead. Midway through the second half, with Luverne leading 65-36, the Wildcats went on a 12-2 run, highlighted by three consecutive layups from Logan Knutson. HL-O was able to cut the deficit to 16 points late, but the Cardinals were able to close out the win.
“Our effort was pretty good all game long,” HL-O head coach Les Knutson said. “We got rattled and made a lot of mistakes against their press. Give them credit for that. Once they got into the flow of things, they hit some outside shots.”
Both teams play again tonight with HL-O at Truman/Martin Luther/Granada-Huntley-East Chain and Luverne hosting Worthington.
“If we keep scoring points and keep playing good defense, we should be alright,” Overgaard said. “We have to start out fast at the beginning of the game, that’s been our problem. We have to keep working on that.”
Luverne 50 83
HL-O 19 56
LUVERNE (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Overgaard 2-5-2-18, Muller 2-1-0-8, Wohnoutka 2-5-0-16, Claussen 0-1-0-2, Schoeneman 2-0-0-6, Curtis 0-3-0-6, Siebenahler 0-2-7-11, Bierman 0-1-0-2, Wagner 0-3-1-7, Haugom 0-1-0-2. Totals 8-23-13-83.
HERON LAKE-OKABENA (3FG-2FG-FT-TP) Behrends 1-6-0-15, Knutson 0-4-0-8, Henkels 1-0-0-3, Obermoller 0-4-0-8, Linsmeier 0-1-0-2, M. Esqueda 0-1-0-2, Thurk 0-1-0-2, Au. Hietbrink 0-1-0-2, Poppe 0-7-0-14. Totals 2-25-0-56.

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