Lakeside, Belmont have similar MOs
-- Lakeside, making its first WIAA state tournament appearance, and Belmont, will both be underdogs in their tournament openers. Lakeside (25-1) plays top-ranked La Crosse Aquinas (25-1) in its Division 3 semifinal game at 9:05 a.m. Friday at the Kohl Center in Madison. Thirteenth-seeded Belmont opens up the NCAA Tournament tonight against 4th-seeded Wisconsin.
-- Lakeside and Belmont both utilize a 10-12 player rotation.
-- Lakeside and Belmont both play a tenacious man-to-man full court press that causes fits.
-- And both teams like to score. Belmont is averaging more than 80 points a game, while Lakeside is averaging better than 70 points a game, including five games with 80 or more.
"We are who we are," Lakeside coach Jim Bauer said. "We know how good Aquinas is, but weíre not going to change anything on our end. Weíll play like we have all season, and hope thatís good enough.
"I like the way weíve played the last two games, especially in the first half. Itís just a matter of putting out that type of effort for four quarters."
Lakeside coasted to the Capitol North Conference title, and other than a slow start against Evansville in a regional semifinal, has been running on all cylinders in the tournament.
Senior Jake Jarnigo leads the Warriors. The Lake Mills resident is averaging 17.7 points a game and has scored in double figures in all 26 games, including a season-high 35 in a non-conference win over Delavan-Darien.
Jarnigo said the 9:05 a.m. start Friday is early but an adjustment the team will gladly make.
"Weíre getting a chance to play at state for the first time in school history, so we donít really care when we play," Jarnigo said. "There are a couple of adjustments to make, starting with early-morning practices, but it hasnít been too bad."
Jarnigo knows all about Aquinas and its sensational sophomore guard, Bronson Koenig. Koenig is averaging 17.2 points a game and already has been offered a full scholarship to North Carolina.
"Heís a great player," Jarnigo said of Koenig. "But they donít have the depth that we do, so hopefully, that will make a big difference."
The programís first appearance at state has the school buzzing, according to Bauer. Along with Lakesideís girls team, which will play in a sectional semifinal game tonight, basketball has consumed the school.
"Thereís an air of excitement around the school, and thereís a pulling together of the community," Bauer said. "Itís a chance to rally around something, and that makes it really special."
"Weíve seen flashes of just how good this team can be in not only our last two games, but in practices, as well. I hope our best is yet to come."