Tupper Lake hoops sweeps Panthers

TUPPER LAKE – The Tupper Lake girls basketball team used a strong defensive effort in the second half to secure a 29-22 victory over Parishville-Hopkinton. It was the first game in of a basketball doubleheader Thursday at the high school.

The Tupper Lake boys team won the nightcap 61-28 over the Panthers.

“My girls worked hard,” Lumberjacks coach Jenn Cook said. “We heard the coach at the end of the game tell his girls, ‘We wanted it more,’ meaning us. We wanted it more, and I think that was the case. We just wanted it more. We just keep working at it and doing what we needed to do to win.”

In the third quarter, Tupper Lake outscored Parishville 10-2 to take control of the game.

The Lumberjacks played especially good defense on Parishville’s top player Nicole White, who scored 10 points in the first half but none in the second half.

“The key was stopping number 1 (White),” Cook said. “She hit three 3s in the first half. So I told them, ‘We stop her and that’ll make a difference because she was the one keeping them in the game.'”

Katie Zurek and Lindsey Maroun each had four points in the decisive third quarter. Zurek finished with eight points and 10 rebounds. Senior point guard Lizzie Zurek also had some nice assists in the third.

For Lizzie Zurek, it was her last home game of her high school career. She finished with four points, 12 rebounds, three assists and four steals. She was the only senior on the squad this season.

“I told her I’m proud of how she’s taken the leadership role on this year,” Cook said. “That’s been a big positive for us because we were looking for somebody to do that. She’s done an excellent job with it. On top of that she’s been playing really well and improving every single game we play.”

Lizzie Zurek was impressed with her team’s turnaround from earlier in the season against the same opponent.

“It was great,” she said. “I was little nervous to begin with because we lost to them pretty bad last time. We started out kind of slow but we came to play today.”

The Lumberjacks are now 5-12. They wrap up their season with a road game against Indian Lake-Long Lake tonight. They then play on Wednesday in the first round of the postseason. Cook said she’ll find out who the opponent is this weekend.

Tupper boys win

The Tupper Lake boys basketball team rolled to a 61-28 win over Parishville-Hopkinton in the second game of the basketball doubleheader Thursday in Tupper Lake.

The Lumberjacks took control of the game from the start, jumping out to a 12-2 lead in the opening minutes. Every starter contributed points during the run.

Senior Mitch Keniston got the Lumberjacks going with a turnaround jumper, Nick Dukette hit a layup and Keniston tipped in a loose rebound. Morgan Stevens followed that with a steal and a layup. Anson Gagnier hit two free throws and Cody LaPierre followed that with a layup.

The Lumberjacks went on to outscore the Panthers 23-11 in the first period.

“Our last game against Chateaugay, we didn’t come out very aggressive and we got ourselves in a hole,” Lumberjacks coach Steve Skiff said. “Tonight, we wanted to really come out and get after it, put some defensive pressure on them with our man-to-man to see if we could get our transition game going again. I thought we did a really good job of that, especially in the first quarter.”

Keniston led the way for Tupper Lake with 20 points. LaPierre chipped in 11 and Gagnier had 10. Overall, 11 Tupper Lake players scored.

Parishville-Hopkinton was led by Hunter Charleson, who had eight points. Kobe Wells contributed seven points.

“They are solid,” Parishville-Hopkinton coach Mike Walter said. “They have a lot of seniors and a deep bench. We have five freshman and four sophomores, so we’re real young. We have another year or two of growth before we get really strong. But it’s a good group.”

Tupper Lake improved to 12-6 with the win. Parishville-Hopkinton fell to 2-14.

The game was the last home game for six Lumberjack seniors: Stevens, Vondell Wesby, LaPierre, Devin Larson, Dukette and Keniston.

All contributed to the win. Actually one of the keys for Tupper Lake this season has been that it has a deep bench. On Thursday, both the starters and bench played good pressure defense throughout the game. That led to many steals and easy baskets in transition. They also moved the ball well on offense, making the extra pass to hit the open man.

“Our defense (was key),” LaPierre said. “Coming off of Chateaugay, we didn’t do very well getting back on defense. Granted it was a bigger court, but I think getting back on defense and playing defense (was key).”

There was only one thing missing in this game, according to LaPierre.

“It would have been a little better if Mitch dunked it but it was a good way to go out,” said LaPierre of his tall teammate who got above the rim on at least one layup.

Tupper Lake will now move onto the postseason. As the top seeded Section X, class C team, it will host St. Lawrence at 6 p.m. Thursday. The two teams haven’t faced each other in the regular season.

Skiff said that he isn’t taking St. Lawrence lightly. They could be a tough four seed because they’ve had a difficult schedule, playing many larger schools this season.

“They are much better team than their record shows,” he said.

Still, Skiff is confident in his team.

“With the exception of Chateaugay, we’ve had a really nice run, and I thought definitely, we’re peaking at the right time,” he said.