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Wolverines struggle from the field in opener

Wadena-Deer Creek’s Cade Kapphahn fights through the contact to get the shot off against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle. Jason Groth/Pioneer Journal1 / 3
Wadena-Deer Creek’s Dawson Lupkes lines up and drains the 3-pointer against Long Prairie-Grey Eagle during the season-opener for both teams. Jason Groth/Pioneer Journal2 / 3
Wadena-Deer Creek’s Payton Rondestvedt drives the baseline and attacks the hoop for two points during their season-opener with Long Prairie-Grey Eagle. Jason Groth/Pioneer Journal3 / 3

The Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines got the looks they wanted, but they just couldn't get them to drop in a 57-50 defeat to Long Prairie-Grey Eagle on Nov. 29 at the Wadena-DC high school gymnasium.

The Wolverines shot 26 percent from the field and were 23 percent from beyond the arc in the loss. They hit on seven of their 30 3-point attempts and were just 11 of 37 from inside the 3-point line.

Wadena-DC head coach Kevin Tumberg said he wasn't very disappointed or frustrated with the loss. He said they were able to do a lot of great things in the game.

"Offensively, we were able to move the ball and got a lot of good looks. We just weren't able to finish," Tumberg said. "We missed easily 15 to 20 bunnies that throughout the year we are going to make. Offensively, I'm not too concerned."

Tumberg said the Wolverines played a strong first half of the first half and a strong first half of the second half on defense, but were unable to put the full game together.

"If we can put everything together, I think we will be okay," Tumberg said of the game.

The Thunder out-scored Wadena-DC 19-9 in the final six minutes of the first half, taking a 30-12 lead into halftime.

The Wolverines started the second half with a 15-3 run, grabbing a 35-33 lead after a 3-pointer from Payton Rondestvedt. Bereket Loer caught fire during the run with two 3-pointers and nine of his 18 points.

"One of the big things we stressed at halftime is that we were going to fast. We wanted the kids to play fast but not in a hurry," Tumberg said. "We wanted to make sure that we get good, quality possessions. In the first half, we rushed too many things and we turned the ball over or took bad shots. Our big focal point was to value every possession and I think we did a better job of that in the second half."

The Thunder received a pair of strong evenings from Brandon Fossland and Gabe Abraham. The duo finished with 14 points each. Ian Langford finished with 12 points inside the lane for the Thunder.

The Wolverines were led by Loer's 18 points and Lupkes' 11 points. One of the keys this season was finding additional scoring and after game one, another key will be their ability to finish at the hoop.

"We know what we have to get ready for. We only had seven practices and that's not an excuse, but that doesn't allow you to be ready for all the things you need to be ready for going into a game," Tumberg said. "We have to work on rebounding. We have to keep shooting the ball and being in the gymnasium."

The Wolverines returned to action with a road game at Staples-Motley on Dec. 4. The Wolverines are home on Dec. 6 when they host two-time defending Section 8AA Champion, Breckenridge, at 7:30 p.m.

LPGE 30 27--57

WDC 20 30--50

LPGE-Brandon Fossland 14, Jacob Middendorf 3, Nick Byers 2, Gabe Abraham 14, Matthew Zeipet 1, Sam Byers 3, Joey Mena 6, Lance Larson 2, Ian Langford 12

3-pointers: Fossland 3, Middendorf, Abraham 2, Byer. Free Throws: 7-12. Team Fouls: 16. Fouled Out: None

WDC-Bereket Loer 18, Lucas Hinojos 2, Dawson Lupkes 11, Cade Kapphahn 6, Tony Kreklau 2, Payton Rondestvedt 5, Cooper Folkestad 3, Steven Thomas 3

3-pointers: Loer 3, Lupkes 3, Rondestvedt. Free Throws: 7-17. Team Fouls: 18. Fouled Out: None.

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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