The Lakeland boys basketball team gave undefeated Mosinee a run for their money Friday, Feb. 15, but came up short and lost 66-57 at home.

The Thunderbirds stayed in striking distance all night, which was impressive because they took an early punch in the teeth. 

Mosinee began the game on a 9-0 run, but Lakeland quickly recovered with the help of two early three-pointers, one each by Collin Quade and Alex Fortier, and a pair of quick buckets from David Wolfe. 

Just under halfway through the first the score was 15-14 Mosinee.

“I think the heart of our guys all night long was strong. It was beating hard and they were playing,” Lakeland head coach Rich Fortier said about his Thunderbirds. “Especially in that first half we really looked like the team that was hungry.”

They would have to be because Mosinee would go on a late first half 10-2 run. But Lakeland’s Michael Ouimette answered back with seven straight points of his own to keep the T-Birds in the game and at the half the score was 31-29 Mosinee.

In addition to their all around intensity, Fortier credits his team’s defense, especially on Mosinee guard  Luke Spink, for keeping the game close.

“I thought we opened their eyes with the way we guarded Spink,” Fortier said. “We held him to 13 points. Mason and David did a nice job on him, and our guys collectively stuck with what we were trying to do which was make his life difficult, and I thought we did that really for most of the game.”

In the second half it was Lakeland that came out swinging as the Thunderbirds went on a 6-0 run after half time and took the lead, but that only seemed to provoke Mosinee.

The Indians, in response, would push the game into a furious pace and, according to Fortier, the T-Birds couldn’t keep up.

“They just got out on the break in the second half so much better,” he said. “Their guards would just fly down the floor. The hounds were just unleashed. We couldn’t get back fast enough. We just couldn’t.”

In a barrage of fast breaks and jump shots, Mosinee’s Cyle Kowalski and Eric Makela combined for 20 points in the second half to help Mosinee establish control of the game. 

Mosinee rarely wasted a possession after a 14-4 run midway through the second half and that was all the separation they needed and they took the contest 66-57.

Michael Ouimette led Lakeland with 17 points Cyle Kowalski led Mosinee with 20.

Saturday vs. Antigo

Lakeland had to get right back to action on Saturday at Antigo, but the visiting Thunderbirds came out a bit slow and Antigo took advantage and beat the T-Birds 66-59.

“We seemed a little flat, Fortier said. “Second game of a back-to-back and a travel day. There were a lot of things that sort of stacked up against us. We weren’t our regular selves. We committed a lot of turnovers.”

The out-of-synch T-Birds fell behind early, but were behind by only six at the break thanks to strong forward play from Michael Ouimette.

“Mike was a beast,” Fortier said.

Lakeland, though, was unable to catch up with the Red Robbins in the second half, but late in the game the Thunderbirds made a run.

Antigo went up by 15 with five minutes to play, however Lakeland came storming back and cut the lead to six, but they couldn’t keep chopping at it.

Antigo answered with five unanswered points and were back in control and up 11.

The Red Robbins would hold onto to the lead and win 66-59. 

“We had opportunities that we just didn’t take advantage of,” Fortier said. “We missed a lot of shots that we would’ve loved to make. Had some opportunities to score baskets and just did not do it. We just couldn’t make a big play.”

With the losses Lakeland drops to 10-10 overall and 6-6 in the Great Northern Conference. 

The T-Birds faced Amherst on Monday past deadline. Coverage will be in Friday’s paper.

Jacob Friede may be reached at or