T-Birds thunder on MHS boys? parade

The Bluejay boys had opened the season with a pair of close losses to teams from the southern end of the state, but a trip north on Friday wasn’t as encouraging.
In a unique girls-then-boys varsity match-up, Lakeland cruised to a 59-37 win over Merrill.
“We’ve got to get a lot better on defense,” MHS coach Kurt Soderberg said. “They had multiple second-chance points. That can’t happen. At least it’s all correctable stuff, so we’ll start there.
“We were able to get some good looks offensively off our set plays, but I’ve really go to search for something. I did like the intensity of our second group we brought to the floor. They did a great job defensively and that led to some offense for them. I liked our versatility with more guards on the floor.”
The T-Birds excelled despite rolling out just 2/3rds of their best players.
“They’ve got three seniors that are standout players,” Soderberg said. “They’ve got (Matt) Iverson that’s 6′ 10″, and they’ve got the (Justin) Cobb kid and (Marquis) Johnson kid, two guards that are very hard to defend. Johnson didn’t play due to a medical issue, but Cobb played very well. They’ve got a nice team. I would probably pick them to win their (GNC) league.”
Merrill suffered with just 27% accuracy from the floor, and hit only 47% of its throws. Lakeland, meanwhile, canned 54% of it field goals. The T-Birds pushed their lead all the way to 50-21 at one point in the fourth quarter.
The T-Birds jumped out 14-5 and pushed it to 25-10 by intermission. The Jays were within 40-20 after three quarters, then stepped up within a 19-17 fourth.
MHS contributions came from: David Jesperson (10 p, 5 r); Brandon Bartz (3 p, 5 r, 3 a); Paul Theorin (5 p, 4 a); Greg Boyce (3 p, 3 st); Nick Mootz (3 p, 3 r); Andrew Seaman (3 p, 3 r); Jared Wardall (5 p); Adam Smith (3 r); Michael Seaman (3 p).
Merrill-FG: 13-49 (27%); FT: 7-15 (47%). Lakeland-FG: 23-43 (54%); FT: 9-14 (64%).

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