L/L-M works to take down Grafton in 2022 State Tournament
The Loboes are in the state tournament for the first time since 2015, and third time since 2010.
LAMOURE, N.D. – For the first time since the 2015 season, the LaMoure/Litchville-Marion Loboes are headed to the state tournament, and head coach Darren Thielges said his team will have to avoid the distractions that come with playing on the big stage and continue to play like they have all season.
"It’s one of those things, you can’t really put it in their minds until they get there,” Thielges said. “I think the one thing that is going to ease their minds a little bit is the fact that we are going to concentrate on competing and the mission that is right in front of us."
Thielges compared this year's squad to the 2015 team and talked about the confidence of the two teams.
“This year is more, we know what we can do now, we have to go out and do it type of season,” Thielges said. “Whereas in 2015, it was completely different, we lost our first four games of the season in the 2015 season. That team was more trying to convince that they could play at a high level. I think this team already knew they could play at a high level; we just had to go out and find ways to do it consistently.”
The Loboes (23-3) are one of the hottest teams in the state and ran through the District 5 and Region 3 tournaments, winning 18 of their last 19 games. The Loboes will put their six-game winning streak on the line at 8:15 p.m. Thursday, March 17, when they face the Grafton Spoilers (18-6) in the first round of the 2022 Class B State Tournament at the Minot Dome in Minot.
Through six games in the district and regional tournaments, the Loboes outscored teams 340-204.
The Loboes senior guard Charlie Bowman said that his team’s keys to the game are very similar to what they are before most games.
“We just gotta play our defense, work our defense, work our offense and make sure they don’t get open shots,” Bowman said.
Thielges said that his team’s practice is not going to be completely overhauled this late in the season. Thielges said that the game plan is in place and that they will continue to work on it leading up to the game against Grafton.
“We got back at it a little bit last night,” Thielges said. “We installed game plan stuff, you’re not going to change completely who you are from game to game, so we’re going to be who we are. At the same time, we need to know how we are going to handle different actions defensively and how we are going to look to attack their defense and just all the little scouting things go along."
Bowman said that one of the pieces of his team’s game plan is to pay attention to William Jiskra, who is averaging 12.7 points per game and 12.3 rebounds per game on 52% shooting.
“They’re really athletic and when they shoot well they are a tough team to beat,” Bowman said. “I think the main challenge is to push them off the 3-point line, and when that happens be able to keep them out of the lane and make sure to box out. They have (Jiskra), he’s a really good rebounder, a hard worker on the boards. We have to keep him off the boards especially.”
Thielges said he is hoping his team’s strengths can bother and overwhelm a Spoilers squad that only has two seniors, whereas the Loboes have four seniors on their roster.