PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: HLWW catches fire in win over Rockford

HOWARD LAKE – The past weekend for the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted boys basketball team was a disappointing one. They didn’t let that carry over into a new week as the Lakers got back into the win column in a big way picking up an impressive 76-53 win over the Rockford Rockets Tuesday night.

“We talked all week about being persistent and being resilient,” HLWW coach James Carr said. “We know teams are going to go on runs and we need to be able to weather the storm. Tonight it was good for us to see because they kept coming. We were able to get some key stops when we needed them.”

Along with getting key stops throughout the second half, HLWW shot lights out from 3-point range. In the second half alone, the Lakers knocked down seven 3-pointers as a team to break open a tight game.

“It comes out of confidence, Carr said about the hot shooting. “Our guys are really confident right now shooting the ball. The guys are great at knowing who is feeling it that night and feeding guys when they are open. Good things happen when we get downhill and kick out to our shooters.”

“We have a lot of great shooters on our team,” Cole Gilbert added. “It was a big rebound for us. It was important we came out with some fire tonight and we did that. After two losses, it was big to get back into the win column.”

Gilbert finished with a game-high 28 points in the win for the Lakers, 17 of which came in the second half. Cody Stapel also had a big game with 20 points while Drystin Green (11 points) and Alex Zimmerman (10 points) were also in double figures for HLWW.

“We’re trying to make it an equal opportunity offense,” Carr said. “Anyone of our guys can get buckets for us any night. They’re buying into that and because of it, they are playing with such confidence. We just need to keep that going.”

While the hot shooting and timely defensive stops were big parts of the win, HLWW put together one of their most complete games of the season by playing together and not letting one or two bad possessions carry into more throughout the game.

“We talk a lot about being able to reset when things don’t go right,” Carr said. “We know it’s a long game so we stay focused on what we have to do. The last play is history and we move on to the next play. The guys are doing a really good job of that.”

The schedule doesn’t get any easier going forward for the Lakers as conference play heats up this month. HLWW is back in action Thursday against Watertown-Mayer, the lone undefeated team in the conference left and a Top 10 team in Class AA.

“This conference is a battle every single night,” Carr said. “We know going into the postseason, we’re going to be battle tested. It’s going to be good for us to get games like this under our belt so we can go into the postseason feeling like we’re going in the right direction.”

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