Lakeland’s defense stymies Bulldogs

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(Photo courtesy JASON DUCHOW PHOTOGRAPHY) Alex Stockton and Ryan Roos fight for a loose ball against Lakeland’s Josiah Haaland as the Bulldogs battled Lakeland on Friday.

RATHDRUM — Lakeland rode its athleticism and a 27-point first quarter to a — win over IEL rival Sandpoint on Friday night.

“Lakeland is a good team and they have a lot of good players,” Sandpoint head coach Wade Engelson said. “We struggled. And we have to improve if we want to be competitive.”

Senior forward Alex Stockton set the tone for the Bulldogs by fighting for a rebound and making a put-back on the first possession. Stockton would finish the game with 24 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. Then Lakeland’s nine unanswered points in the first two minutes — five of which off of rebounding missed free throws — gave Lakeland a 9-2 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Lakeland’s success stemmed from its defense, which forced 30 turnovers overall. Although the Bulldogs cut down on mistakes in the second quarter, Lakeland kept its lead by getting to the free throw line seven times.

Stockton’s best stretch of play came in the third quarter, as he proved to be Sandpoint’s go-to guy. He opened the half on a personal 6-0 run in 90 seconds and scored 8 of Sandpoint’s first 11 points. But picking up his fourth foul with 4:16 to go put Sandpoint in a bind for the rest of the chippy, fast-paced contest. The Bulldogs would pull within 13 late in the third quarter, but couldn’t get closer. The Hawks’ lead ballooned to 30 early in the fourth.

“I thought Alex Stockton did fantastic for us tonight,” Engelson said. “He just battled every moment out there on the basketball court.”

Lakeland forward Jalen Skalisky led the way for the Hawks with a 23-point, six rebound-three steal effort — highlighted by a cutback dunk with 1:13 to go in the third. Fellow forward Josiah Haaland added 14 points.

For the Bulldogs, Kobe Banks added nine points, and a pair of steals, assists and rebounds.

Lakeland moved to 1-1 in IEL play with the win, while the Bulldogs dropped to 0-2.

Sandpoint 9 11 13 10 — 43

Lakeland 27 17 17 5 — 66

SANDPOINT: Jones 5, Banks 9, Roos 3, Casey, Stockton 24, Vandenberg 0, Niemela 0, Treadaway 2, Thielbahr 0, Bailey 0.

LAKELAND: Taylor 6, Zubaly 8, Skalskiy 23, Nielson 9, J. Haaland 14, Derrick 0, Munyer 6, Streitet 0, Seay 0, Henry 0, Streitet 0, N. Hallend 0.

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