NATE FARNHAM drives to the hoop in action Friday night against Inter-Lakes. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
December 16, 2013ALTON — Coach Tom Bourdeau knows what got the Timber Wolf hoop boys to the Division III championship just a few short years ago.
It was defense.
And while the Timber Wolves kind of went away from defense last year with a strong offensive front line, this year things have gone back to that defensive mindset.
"We kind of got away from defense last year," Bourdeau said. "When we went to the state championship, it was because of defense.
"We've been focusing on the defense again," he added.
Out of the gate against Inter-Lakes in the season opener on Friday, Dec. 13, the Timber Wolves pulled out the press and led by as many as 13 points late in the frame.
"I got a little nervous, it was new to us," the Timber Wolf coach said. "We haven't gotten used to the one-two-one-one-one full court press."
Nate Farnham got the Timber Wolves on the board first, but the Lakers come right back and hit two free throws to tie the game at two.
The Timber Wolves then ran off eight points in a row. A rebound and hoop from Zach Robertson and a hoop from Farnham off a Dylan Tiede (who we mistakenly referred to as Brett in last week's preview) steal upped the lead to 6-2. Robertson followed with another rebound and hoop and Farnham did the same and Prospect was up 10-2 before the Lakers were able to score again. Robertson hit two free throws and then put home a rebound off a Farnham steal for a 14-6 lead for the Timber Wolves. Logan LaRoche hit a hoop for a 10-point lead and David Troy drained a three-pointer to give the Timber Wolves a 13-point lead. After two free throws and a hoop from the Lakers cut the lead to nine, Troy drilled another three to up the lead to 22-10.
The Lakers got the final hoop of the quarter and Prospect led 22-12 after one.
The visitors scored the first three points of the second quarter. Robertson hit a hoop and after two more free throws from the Lakers, Robertson put back another rebound for a 26-17 lead. The Lakers hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to six with 5:35 to go in the half, but Prospect didn't let them get any closer. Brian Borelli hit from the free throw line and then hit a basket for a 29-20 lead. After another Laker hoop, Robertson and Borelli hit back-to-back hoops, the latter coming off a nice feed from Tiede to push the lead to 11. Farnham hit a hoop and Matt Sepulveda scored his first varsity points with a three-pointer to up the lead to 38-24. The Lakers got the final four points of the half to cut the lead to 38-28 at the halftime break.
The Lakers answered two Farnham free throws to open the second half, but LaRoche drained a three-pointer and Farnham hit another hoop to push Prospect's lead to 45-30. After a Laker free throw, Prospect ran off nine points in a row, with Robertson hitting a free throw, Jake Towle draining a field goal and LaRoche and Troy hitting back-to-back three-pointers for a 54-31 lead.
After the Lakers got back on the board with a three-pointer, LaRoche hit another three-pointer, but again the Lakers answered. Robertson hit a free throw and Troy drilled another hoop and Prospect took a 60-41 lead to the fourth quarter.
The Lakers drilled a three-pointer to open the fourth quarter, but Robertson and Tiede hit back-to-back hoops and Prospect's lead was 20 at 64-44. The Timber Wolves continued to pull away, as LaRoche three hoops and John Barnes, Borelli, Mike Joy and Towle all hit hoops and Sepulveda hit a free throw as the Timber Wolves rolled on to the 81-55 lead.
The Timber Wolf coach knew that without much height, he had to rely on his team's speed, using the fast break, which he admits allows the opponents to score a little more at the other end.
"We traditionally like to keep teams in the 40s, but because we fast break so much, it gives them more possessions," Bourdeau said. "But to score in the 80s, that's great."
The Timber Wolf coach noted that the way his rotation worked was exactly what he was hoping for.
"We had a good rotation, 10 kids in there helping out," Bourdeau said. "If Zach was out, John was in doing a nice job and it gives Zach a minute to catch his breath.
"And Mike went in for Brian, and Jake for Farnham,' Bourdeau continued. "Every one gave the minutes I was looking for."
The Timber Wolves were also on the road after deadline Tuesday at Farmington and will host Campbell on Friday, Dec. 20, at 6:30 p.m., the final game before the holiday season.
"It was a good win," Bourdeau said. "But we've got Farmington and Campbell, two totally different games. "But I'll know a little more about my team after that."
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 569-3126 or firstname.lastname@example.org.