Three-pointers were the name of the game on Friday, and the Lodi boys basketball team won the contest from beyond the arc as the Blue Devils came away with a 65-57 victory over host Baraboo.
With only two players on the Lodi roster standing under 6 feet, Baraboo (1-7) was forced to play physical post defense. While the T-Birds were successful down low, the Blue Devils (4-1) stood up to the challenge of hitting from the outside, as they hit 11 3s on the night compared to Baraboo’s eight.
“We didn’t get as many post touches as we like to get,” Lodi coach Mitch Hauser said. “But the guys were taking shots that were available, and I thought Baraboo’s defense had a lot to do with some of our difficulties on offense. They really came out and played their tails off.”
Six of Lodi’s 11 3-pointers came from junior Jackson Furniss, who led the Blue Devils with 19 points.
“When we watched film of them against Reedsburg and Portage, they didn’t shoot it quite like that,” Baraboo coach Darrin Berger said. “We knew they were big — especially (Jackson Kolinski); he’s really good. So we were going to do everything we could to take him away. But Jackson Furniss, he hit six 3s, so that was huge for them. And he had some good looks, and he knocked them down, so credit to him.”
Both teams brought the intensity in a back-and-forth first half. Baraboo went up 5-2 early thanks to a 3-pointer from Mason Peterson, but Lodi stormed back with seven straight points. Baraboo juniors Caden Blum and Caden Carpenter sank 3-pointers to bring the Thunderbirds back into it, but Furniss hit his first 3 of the night to maintain the lead. Baraboo senior Connor Grogan hit a trey moments later, but Furniss responded with another of his own.
Lodi’s Jackson Kolinski, Carter Breunig and Jack Persike all hit 3s in an offensive run, and a Dominic Scola bucket gave the Blue Devils a 29-19 lead. Baraboo, meanwhile, struggled with turnovers and fouls.
The T-Birds snapped back into gear to end the half with some momentum, as Ryan Gehin scored in transition and Peterson drove for a basket, but Lodi still had a 32-24 advantage at the half.
Justus Neuman knocked down a 3 to start the second half, but once again Lodi responded a 3-pointer of its own, this time from Persike. Another Peterson drive brought Baraboo within 38-35 before both teams hit a stagnant spell. Furniss broke the scoreless play with back-to-back 3s to give Lodi a 44-35 lead.
Baraboo never let up, as Neuman hit a 3 while Carpenter recorded a steal-and-score, but the Blue Devils hit a couple more from beyond the arc. Gehin scored in transition to make it 62-57 with less than a minute left and the T-Birds earned a defensive stop using a full-court press, but a traveling call gave the ball back to Lodi. The Blue Devils sealed the deal on Canyon Bacon’s basket.
“They executed. You can tell they’re well coached; they ran good stuff and they made enough free throws at the end,” Berger said of Lodi. “A couple of times, they made some big plays and scored, which was kind of the difference.
“We talked about how some mental mistakes cost us tonight, but I do not fault our effort one bit. I thought that was the hardest we’ve played all year and the toughest we’ve been all year.”
Hauser agreed Baraboo made things difficult.
“They made it very difficult for us; they put a lot of pressure on us,” he said. “We made some mistakes down the line, but I think Baraboo had a lot to do with those mistakes and I think our guys are continuing to learn if you’re going to win tough games, you’ve got to play through the difficult times. It’s not always easy. So we’re real pleased to come out of here with a win tonight.”
It was a special game for both coaches, as Hauser coached Berger at Portage High School when Berger was a senior.
“It was cool, this is the first time we’ve played them here,” Berger said. “When I was an assistant in Portage, we played them a couple times, but I’ve kept in contact with Mitch since I graduated. I definitely consider him a mentor and someone who’s very important to me, so it was fun to play against those guys.”
LODI 65, BARABOO 57
Lodi 32 33 — 65
Baraboo 24 33 — 57
LODI (65) — Bacon 6, Kolinski 13, Scola 5, Furniss 19, Persike 11, Breunig 3, Steinhoff 3. Totals: 12 8-15 65.
BARABOO (57) — Peterson 18, Carpenter 5, Gehin 6, Grogan 14, Neuman 11, Blum 3. Totals: 9 15-21 57.
3-point goals — Lodi 11 (Kolinski 2, Furniss 6, Persike 2, Breunig 1), Baraboo 8 (Peterson 2, Carpenter 1, Grogan 2, Neuman 2, Blum 1). Total fouls — L 18, B 17.