Lake City needed to get back to what makes them a good team; solid defense and excellent rebounding.
More often than not, the No. 1-seeded Tigers did not do either well enough in the first half and for the opening minutes of the second half. In the second, the Tigers had better shot selection and rebounded well to close out a 60-49 win over No. 8 Lourdes in a Section 1AA quarterfinal at Mayo Civic Center Monday evening.
Head coach Greg Berge said after the game, the team talked about the need to play an overall complete game from start to finish.
"Once we settled down, I thought we played pretty good," Berge said. "We scored 60 points. We played pretty defense. We can play a lot better and the guys know we can play a lot better."
The Tigers finally gained some separation by closing out the game on a 17-5 run. To that point, it had been a one possession game with each team trading leads.
Berge noted how close the one of the two previous matchups was between the two teams earlier in the season and gave credit to the shorthanded Eagles.
The Eagles went right after the best defenders on the Tigers with little fear. They attacked the basket and drew foul after foul in the final 5 minutes of the first half, forcing the Tigers to juggle their rotation a bit.
The Tigers themselves got their chances at the free-throw line, too, and made the most of them. Possibly a deciding factor in the game was the Tiger's shooting 19 of 24 at the line while the Eagles were 14-for-22.
Neither team had much success from beyond the arc, so getting to the line or making a contested layup became the go-to.
It certainly was not an easy win for the Tigers.
"This is hardest game to win; the first one in the arena. I could rattle off a number of games that were exactly like that year after year," Berge said. "Being that it was our first tournament game, probably made us tight right away. Proud of the guys battling through it to make plays. These games are never like the regular season. You have to get into tournament mode."
Lake City had four players reach double-digits with Jaden Shones leading the team with 16 points. Hunter Lorenson, Keegan Ryan and Ryan Heise each scored 13 points.
The Tigers next face No. 4 Cannon Falls on Saturday at the Mayo Auditorium at 4 p.m. in a semifinal.
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