LAKE MILLS — Brandin Podziemski, the state’s second-leading scorer at 35 points a game, has drawn the attention of Kentucky and Kansas amongst other Division 1 programs.
The senior guard drew plenty of attention against Lake Mills, too.
Senior forward Adam Moen totaled a career-high 26 points and the Lake Mills boys basketball team withstood 37 points from Podziemski to earn a 62-58 nonconference victory over Delafield St. John’s Northwestern Academies at Lake Mills on Tuesday.
“He was able to get post touches when they want man. When they went zone he caught passes from Drew (Stoddard), Charlie (Bender) and Jaxson (Retrum),” Lake Mills head coach Steve Hicklin said of Moen. “He was huge for us in the second half on both ends. It was huge on the defensive end holding (Brennan) Timm to 10 points.”
The Lancers utilize a 1-3-1 defensive scheme with Podziemski, who stands 6-foot-5 and has roughly 15 D1 scholarship offers, at the top spot. Lake Mills (17-5) struggled against the look late in the first half, falling behind 30-26 at the break.
In the second, the L-Cats, who are ranked ninth in the Associated Press Division 2 rankings, played more through the middle of the floor and it paid dividends.
“We wanted to get Adam and Jaxson some more touches around the free throw line,” Hicklin said. “Let them play high-low. That took pressure off getting reversals with their size.”
Senior guard Drew Stoddard added 15 points and senior forward Jaxson Retrum chipped in 11 points, including nine in the first half. Moen had 18 second-half points.
The gameplan defensively to slow Podziemski involved Bender in tight 1-on-1 coverage with plenty of help and a wall on the backside.
“Charlie with a ton of help,” Hicklin said of guarding Podziemski. “Charlie was the one on the ball chasing him through every thing. Brandin then guarded Charlie on the other end. Charlie didn’t come out of the game and his teammates picked up the slack on offense.
“We wanted to build a wall and not let Brandin blow by and get to rim. That way Charlie can contest his 3-point shots. If Charlie knows he has help behind, he can be more aggressive. Brandin is good with step backs and getting you going before with a fake and hitting a shot. We really wanted that wall behind him.”
Moen had a steal in the frontcourt, cruising in for a transition score that put the L-Cats ahead 39-31 with roughly 11 minutes remaining.
Podziemski hit a pair of 3-pointers and twice went coast-to-coast for buckets, cutting the lead to one.
Bender knocked down a turnaround jumper inside and Moen hit a pair at the line midway through the half to preserve the advantage.
The Lancers, who are ranked third in Division 3 and scored a season-low in points, hit twice from beyond the arc to grab a short-lived two-point edge.
Junior guard Ethan Foster put Lake Mills up 49-48 with seven minutes left with a corner 3-pointer before a Moen bucket on the block extended things.
“Thought we executed better against their 1-3-1 zone which was huge in the second half,” Hicklin said. “We didn’t do well against that in the first half and that’s when they made their run right before the half. Made some adjustments and executed well against it in the second half.
“We wanted to make Brandin work for his baskets and close out and make shots difficult for their role guys.”
Moen then scored on a look from Stoddard and Bender grabbed a steal in the backcourt, scoring at the basket to make it 55-52 with 3:30 left.
Podziemski tipped a pass on the perimeter, corralled it and went the length of the floor for a one-handed flush a minute later.
Foster buried another corner 3 on the ensuing trip, making it 58-54. After Delafield St. John’s had an empty possession, Moen scored down low off glass to extend the margin to six with roughly a minute to play.
The Lancers (17-6) came up empty on their next two trips before Lake Mills closed it out at the line.
“We’re playing well at the right time,” Hicklin said. “(Monday) night we played crisp against Poynette. I like the way we’re playing. We’ll look to keep this defensive mindset going against whatever team we play in the tournament.”
LAKE MILLS 62, ST. JOHN’S NW 58
St. John’s NW 30 28 — 58
Lake Mills 26 36 — 62
ST. JOHN’S NW (fg ft-fta pts) — Reisner 1 0-0 3; Timm 4 0-0 10; Bensch 1 0-2 2; Podziemski 16 1-3 37; Gordon 1 1-2 4; Divane 1 0-0 2. Totals 24 2-7 58.
LAKE MILLS — Stoddard 6 1-2 15; Foster 2 0-0 6; Retrum 4 3-3 11; Moen 9 6-8 26; Bender 2 0-1 4. Totals 23 10-14 62.
3-point goals: DSJ 8 (Reisner 1, Timm 2, Podziemski 4, Gordon 1); LM 6 (Stoddard 2, Foster 2, Moen 2). Total fouls: DSJ 13; LM 7.