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Healthy Lake City puts a hurt on Caledonia in boys basketball in battle of Section 1-2A powers

Jan. 6—BYRON — When the Lake City boys basketball team is healthy, the Tigers can be pretty darn good. They proved that point very well on Saturday.

Playing with a healthy squad, the Tigers rolled past Caledonia 79-54 in a battle of Section 1, Class 2A powers. The game was part of the Southern Minny Hoop Fest and held in Byron.

"They beat us in every facet of the game," Caledonia coach Brad King said. "They worked harder and were more physical. They moved the ball better."

Caledonia entered the game 9-1 and ranked No. 5 in the state in Class 2A.

"When we're all together and healthy, we're a completely different team than we have been all season," Lake City senior Keegan Ryan said. "We got to show that today."

Elite senior guard Hunter Lorenson has missed most of the season with an ankle injury for Lake City. He played in the season opener and then did not return until earlier this week.

"He's one of the best players on our team, he's a ball handler, he can shoot, he can do everything," Ryan said. "He creates a lot for us so it's great to have him back."

Lorenson has now played in three of the Tigers' 10 games. He eased his way back into the lineup on Thursday. Lake City coach Greg Berge said the point guard was close to 100 percent during Saturday's game.

"Tonight he was more like himself and it was really good to see that," Berge said. "It's been a haul for him, he's never really been hurt, so I'm proud of how he's handled it."

When Lorenson was out, other players were forced to step up for the Tigers. Sophomore Luke Narum filled in at point guard while some of the other veteran leaders on the team took on bigger roles.

"He did a great job of running the team for us," Berge said of Narum, "and some of the other guys got put into roles that they aren't used to being in so that made them better. We had a couple of tough losses in the midst of that, but we also had some good wins. That's going to make us better; this is the deepest team we've ever had."

Lake City is now 7-3 and has won four straight. The Tigers were 4-3 with Lorenson out of the lineup.

The 6-foot-4 Ryan, who has committed to playing Division I football as a wide receiver at the University of North Dakota, was one player who stepped up when Lorenson was out. He is averaging close to a double-double this season and had 20 points and 13 rebounds against Caledonia.

"I had to step into a bigger role when Hunter was hurt so that's helped our team," Ryan said. "And I just try and play as well as I can."

Lorenson and Ryan both had big games on Saturday as the Tigers played a strong all-around game after a bit of a slow start. Lorenson finished with a game-high 22 points while Ryan was a force from both inside and outside.

Jaden Shones, a 6-3 guard, and Joshua Wholers, a 6-4 forward, also hit double figures for Lake City with 12 and 10 points.

"We got on a roll and they didn't hit some shots," Berge said. "That can happen. They're a very, very good team, but we played well and we're finally getting back healthy."

After trailing 16-13, Lake City went on a 25-9 run to end the half and open up a 38-25 lead at the break.

Caledonia was just 1-for-9 at the line in the first half as it missed out on scoring chances. The Warriors then struggled from the field early in the second half as Lake City quickly put the game out of reach.

"We didn't move the ball very well at all today," King said. "The ball was in somebody's hands way too long. We didn't execute well."

The Warriors had played a game on Friday night and King said the team didn't play that well despite beating Wabasha-Kellogg 75-55.

"I was hoping it wouldn't roll into today," Kings said. "But it didn't look like we were ready to play. I should of had us better prepared for Lake City."

The Warriors did force 18 turnovers, but Lake City was able to generate solid scoring chances during the contest.

Caledonia 6-4 junior Ethan Stendel missed the game due to a football commitment and without the center, the Warriors struggled to defend Lake City's big players on the inside and to rebound.

"Coach really pushes to have an inside presence so we always try to get it inside a lot because it creates for others," Ryan said.

The contest could be a preview for a showdown during the Section 1-2A tournament. If that is the case, Lake City got a real confidence booster with Saturday's victory.

"We feel good about anyone we match up against," Ryan said. "We feel we have the capability to beat anyone."

Lake City 79, Caledonia 54

LAKE CITY (79)

Thomas Brand 2 P; Hunter Lorenson 22 P, 5 R, 3 3-PT; Josh Wohlers 10 P, 2 3-PT; Gavyn Lorenson 7 P, 1 3-PT; Keegan Ryan 20 P, 13 R, 2 3-PT; Rylee Fick 4 P, 7 R; Jaden Shones 12 P, 5 R; Colter Hegge 2 P.

CALEDONIA (54)

Ben Stemper 4 P, 1 3-PT; Lewis Doyle 14 P, 1 3-PT; Grant King 9 P, 1 3-PT; Garrett Konz 12 P, 6 R, 1 3-PT; Aaron Stemper 2 P; Mason King 2 P; Reid Klug 6 P, 5 R; William Hahn 2 P; Leo Privet 3 P, 1 3-PT.

Halftime: LC 38, CAL 25.

Free throws: LC 3-3, CAL 11-23.

Three-point goals: LC 8, CAL 5.