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Adam Zahn

Columbus’ Adam Zahn dribbles in the backcourt as Lakeside Lutheran's Caleb Kuepers defends during the Cardinals' 69-56 loss Friday night.

COLUMBUS — Columbus prep boys basketball coach Ben Schambow felt Friday night’s contest against Lake Mills Lakeside Lutheran would be a great measuring stick for his team since the Warriors were picked to win the Capitol North Conference title this year.

For two-thirds of the contest, the Cardinals went toe to toe with the Warriors. What Columbus couldn’t measure up to, though, was Lakeside’s Cameron Paske.

Paske, a 6-7 senior forward, scored a game-high 26 points and was one of four Warriors to score in double figures as Lakeside pulled away in the second half for a 69-56 victory.

Columbus, which led 28-27 at the half, saw its last lead of the night evaporate when Paske nailed two straight 3-pointers to put the Warriors (7-1, 1-0) up 39-34 with 12:31 to play. Paske, who hit four 3s on the night, did not score again, but had done plenty of damage already.

The Cardinals closed to within 45-42 on a 3 by Adam Zahn with 7:41 left, but the Warriors, paced by a true team effort, retook control.

Seniors Caleb Kuepers and Will DeNoyer each scored 10 points in the final minutes as Kuepers finished the game with 16 points and DeNoyer 12. Jack Monis tallied six of his 13 in that span for the Warriors, who entered the contest ranked sixth in Division 3 according to the WisSports.net coaches poll.

“The thing about Lakeside is that they’ve got five guys on the floor that can hurt you all the time,” Schambow said. “It’s hard to put your attention on one or two guys. We didn’t play bad defense. Paske was hitting his 3s from the top of the key. They just hit some tough shots.

“And eventually their aggressiveness on both sides of the floor wore us out at the end.”

Zahn led the Cardinals (5-3, 0-1) with 17 points, including 10 in the first half.

“Adam stepped up tonight. He made plays and he was aggressive,” Schambow said. “It was nice to see that.”

Zahn was one of only four Cardinals to score in the contest as junior Ben Emler finished with 16 — a dozen of them in the second half — and senior Trent Casper finished with 14 points. Both totals were below their season average.

“They did a nice job focusing on Ben and Trent and taking them out of the game,” Schambow said. “We need work on being a well-rounded team and getting scoring from all of our spots.”

The only other player to score for the Cardinals was junior guard Caden Bieker, who finished with nine points.

Despite the loss, Schambow was upbeat about his team.

“Like I told the guys, they’re ranked sixth in the state for a reason,” he said. “They are going to be a tough out for anybody this year. For the most part, we held our own. So there are positives to take forward.”

Columbus won’t be able to dwell long on the contest as it faces Janesville Parker tonight in Waunakee as part of the #Swingfam Showcase.

LAKESIDE LUTHERAN 69, COLUMBUS 56</&hspag3>

Lakeside Lutheran 27 42 — 69

Columbus 28 28 — 56

LAKESIDE LUTHERAN (69) — DeNoyer 12, Kuepers 16, Jegerlehner 2, Paske 26, Monis 13. TOTALS (FGS FTM-FTA PTS) 29 5-9 69.

COLUMBUS — Zahn 17, Casper 14, Emler 16, Bieker 9. TOTALS (FGM FTM-FTA PTS) 17 20-23 56.

3-pointers — LL 6 (Kuepers 2, Paske 4), COL 2 (Zahn 1, Bieker 1). Total fouls — LL 19, COL 10. Fouled out — None.

Assistant Regional Sports Editor

Capital Newspapers Assistant Regional Sports Editor