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HLWW varsity football team taken down by Rockford 28-8

Check out our photo coverage of the HLWW varsity football game at Rockford that took place Sept. 15!

Lester Prairie Bulldogs dominate WEM in easy win

The Bulldogs of Lester Prairie went in the Waterville-Elysian-Morristown (WEM) with a 2-0 record and left with a big win. The Bulldogs put up 38 points before half and that was all she wrote for a game that was dominated from begging to end by the Bulldogs. Check our coverage and read about the game in this weeks edition of the Herald Journal.

Check out pictures from the game and remember you can purchased them from our smugmug site.

LP Bulldogs get off to a rocky start but pull out a win over JWP

Last night, the Lester Prairie Bulldogs started their season as defending Section 2A Champions with a target on their backs. The Bulldogs beat Mayer Lutheran the previous year in the section championship 14 to 6, and Lester Prairie Coach Joe Scoblic knows that all teams will be gunning for his team this year. Though the Bulldogs pulled out a win over JWP, and there were plenty of bright spots throughout the game, the victory was marred by several unsportsmanlike penalties from the Bulldogs that cost them several yards and led to points being put on the board by JWP. Scoblic acknowledges that his team can and will do better on that front. Here are some unedited pictures from last night’s win.

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SECTION 2A BOYS BASKETBALL: Dominant second half leads Bulldogs past BOLD

ARLINGTON – There are two seniors on the roster for the Lester Prairie boys basketball team this season. They both chose the right time to have one of their best games of the season as Gavin Eckstein and Tanner Scheevel helped lead the Bulldogs to an impressive 66-55 win over the BOLD Warriors Thursday night thanks to a dominant second-half performance.

“Credit to Tanner playing through his injury and Gavin was super aggressive getting to the rim and getting rebounds,” Lester Prairie coach Andrew Dahl said. “They weren’t ready to be done with their season. They really brought a little extra for us tonight on the court and in the locker room. It was fun to have them leading us and see the other guys follow their lead.”

The Bulldogs struggled at times in the first half but as much as BOLD was in control, Lester Prairie trailed by just five at the half. The Warriors scored the first five of the second half to push their lead to 10 but the Bulldogs answered immediately with an 8-0 run themselves to get back within two thanks to 3-pointers from Tanner Scheevel and Trever Schauer.

“We got some good guys that if we need to make a play, they can go and get one for us,” Dahl said. “I feel like we kind of have the mindset now that we can handle some adversity where earlier in the year we would kind of panic a bit. Now I think we have some mental toughness to withstand a run and make a run of our own.”

Lester Prairie turned up the pressure with their defense in the second half throughout. They held the Warriors to just 20 points in the second half including a six-minute stretch without a field goal.

“We tried some zone defense and we’re not really a zone team. We just tried mixing things up to take away their ball screens and dump-ins. Our man-to-man in the second half really got us some energy with some tips and steals and that got us rolling. We hit some shots and that got us really going.”

A three-point play by Alex Hodny tied the game at 41 for the Bulldogs. Schauer gave the Bulldogs the lead with a three-point play of his own and Lester Prairie led 54-50 with just under seven minutes to go,

“A lot of big performances from a lot of guys,” Dahl said. “I thought everybody really made some good plays for us. It was a good team effort by a lot of different guys tonight which is fun to see.”

The Bulldogs would seal the game holding the Warriors to just five points in the final seven minutes of the game to keep their season alive.

With the win, Lester Prairie advances to the Section 2A North Championship game where they will take on No. 4 Cedar Mountain. The Cougars knocked off top-seeded Sleepy Eye St. Mary’s in the other semifinal game. The Bulldogs defeated Cedar Mountain 77-60 earlier this season but Dahl knows how much a team can change throughout the season.

“They shoot the ball well and run the floor,” he said. “We did see them early in the year but it seems like they’ve improved their game since we saw them. It should be a fun matchup.”

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SECTION 5AA BOYS BASKETBALL: Royals take care of upset-minded HLWW

WATERTOWN – Just a couple of years ago Watertown-Mayer boys basketball coach Kent Janikula was showing his team highlights from the NCAA Tournament of No. 12 seeds upsetting No. 5 seeds. This year was a different story as the Royals came in as the higher seed and took care of business with a 73-49 win over the Lakers Wednesday night.

“It’s a little different now when it comes to motivation,” Janikula said with a laugh. “That’s our section though with them being a No. 12 seed. It’s both good and bad to have familiarity with an opponent in the playoffs but we knew what to expect. We took a punch from them early but I thought we executed the rest of the way and that changed everything in terms of momentum.”

HLWW had the feeling of an upset on their minds coming in and looked the part early on. Thanks to some hot shooting from 3-point range to start, the Lakers hung right with the Royals through most of the first half.

“We played extremely hard all game,” HLWW coach James Carr said. “We came out and executed the way we wanted to. The end of the first half kind of got away from us though but I’m proud of how the guys competed.”

HLWW was within five with just over five minutes left in the first half. That’s when W-M made their run as they closed the half on a 13-2 run and then opened the second half with the first six points of the half to break things open.

“Those are big momentum swingers,” Janikula said. “To win the last bit of the first half and come out the way we did in the second half was big.”

W-M’s game plan was clear from the start. With HLWW missing Alex Zimmermann who was out with injury, the Royals leaned on their big men inside each time down the floor as they outscored HLWW 58-18 in the paint.

“That’s kind of our gameplan in general but with them missing a guy inside that was obviously part of the game plan,” Janikula said. “We have three guys who can score inside so we wanted to make sure we found the matchup we like and pound it inside and I thought we did a good job of that.”

Despite missing one of their key big man and scorers, Carr was happy with how his team fought despite being short-handed.

“We’ve dealt with injuries all season and have had guys step up into big roles,” he said. “It was fun to see guys step into positions where they kind of played out of position a bit. They got after it and worked really hard.”

With the loss, HLWW’s season comes to an end with an overall record of xx-xx. The Lakers took a big step forward this season as a program thanks to two key seniors in Cole Gilbert and Chase Deiter.

“Cole was kind of the heart and soul of our team,” Carr said. “He rebounded for us and almost averaged a double-double. He was able to hit tough shots and could get as hot as any player we’ve seen. He hit a lot of big shots. Chase was our absolute motor when it came to energy. We know when we put Chase in there he is going to give us everything he has. Chase and Cole take charges every single night and our younger guys saw that and it carried over to them. That’s a huge energy thing for us and it started with our seniors. That’s a selfless play. When your seniors and captains are doing that, it’s a good thing for your program.”

The future is bright for HLWW going forward with several sophomores and juniors returning next season. After getting a taste of what varsity basketball is all about, Carr is excited about the future of the program going forward.

“It was good for them to experience a playoff game with this much intensity and experience the grind of a full varsity season,” he said “A lot of these kids who were playing didn’t play a lot on junior varsity or have many varsity minutes. All these minutes they got this year will pay dividends next year.”

With the win, W-M advances to the Section 5AA quarterfinals where they will face either Minneapolis Edison or Southwest Christian. While W-M’s section is loaded from top to bottom, Janikula is hoping the experience his team brings pays off.

“Pretty much every kid who’s playing for us has playoff experience,” he said. “I think that does matter. Last year we played the state champions twice and the runner-up in the playoffs. We’ve got a lot of experience. These kids played in the state football playoffs and the state baseball tournament. I think that helps. I thought the kids were excited and not nervous in the locker room beforehand. I think that’s a credit to the success they’ve had across the board.”

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SURVIVE AND ADVANCE: Schauer, Bulldogs hold off an upset bid from BLHS in Section 2A opener

LESTER PRAIRIE – When the final horn finally went off, Lester Prairie boys basketball coach Andrew Dahl could finally take a sigh of relief.

All game long Dahl and the Bulldogs had fans on the edge of their seats as they never could quite pull away for good from Buffalo Lake-Hector-Stewart in their Section 2A North Sub-Section quarterfinal matchup. Despite being in control for most of the game, it came down to the wire and it was junior Trever Schauer coming through in big spots down the stretch in a thrilling 57-55 win for Lester Prairie Tuesday night.

“That’s the thing about March I guess,” Lester Prairie coach Andrew Dahl said. “You just have to find a way to win. We had some really good stretches and some tough ones too where we couldn’t get stops. I’m proud of the guys for executing down the stretch and getting a bucket when we needed one. I’m just happy to advance at this point.”

With BLHS trailing by three with 22 seconds coming out of a timeout, a desperation shot from the corner found the bottom of the net to tie the game at 55 with just 6.3 seconds left to play. Coming out of a timeout of their own, Lester Prairie got Schauer in space who drew a foul with 3.6 seconds left. Schauer would sink both free throws to put the Bulldogs up 57-55 but he wasn’t done there. He came up with a huge block at the buzzer on the Mustangs’ final shot as Lester Prairie held on for a thrilling win at the horn.

“He’s big time,” Dahl said about Schauer. “He scores inside or outside. He’ll play a little point guard for us too at times. I’m really proud of him for finding some ways to get some buckets when we needed him. He does a lot for us and he did it tonight.”

The Bulldogs were in control of the game throughout but never could pull away. BLHS led 3-0 out of the gate but never led the rest of the game as Lester Prairie kept them at bay for most of the game until the final minutes.

“We knew they weren’t going to go away so we just had to keep as much of a lead as we could,” Dahl said. “They have some good players and those guards are tough. They can shoot the ball and they’re quick and aggressive to the rim. I think it was good for us to have a close game though to prepare us for games going forward.”

Lester Prairie’s execution out of timeouts and halftime were crucial in the win. The Bulldogs came through with easy buckets out of a set play multiple times in the win, a big key in a close game in the postseason.

“For the postseason, we’ve worked a little more on that in practice,” Dahl said. “It’s nice having a couple of sets that we can go to for some easy buckets. In a tight game like that, those are huge to get some easy buckets. I’m proud of the guys for locking in and doing their roles when they needed to make the right play.”

The Bulldogs came into the matchup shorthanded as they were missing senior Tanner Scheevel who was out with an ankle injury. That gave players like Caiden Herrmann, LaDamien Gatlin-Coellner, and Kaden Otto a chance to step up and deliver and they did just that in the win.

“A lot of the other guys stepped up too,” Dahl said. “Missing Tanner, it was nice to have a few guys step up and take those minutes and make plays for us.”

Despite coming into the postseason on a three-game losing streak, Lester Prairie was feeling good about themselves coming in.

“We lost three in a row but I thought the last two we played pretty well,” Dahl said. “We were scoring better so we had some positive things coming in even though we didn’t get a win. It was nice to get out there again though. It was a long week waiting for our first playoff game but I’m glad we came out and got it done.”

With the win, Lester Prairie is scheduled to take on No. 2 BOLD in the Section 2A North semifinals Thursday. Section games around the state have been moved around due to forecasted weather for Thursday. Stay connected with Herald Journal to see if a schedule change is made to the Section 2A Tournament.

“We knew BOLD is a good team,” Dahl said. “They got some size and some athletes. We played at their place last year and had a good competitive game with them. We kind of expect the same thing later this week.”

Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter – @Kovar_HJSports