Jacob friede/lakeland times

Lakeland’s Michael Ouimette scoops a lay-up against D.C. Everest on Thursday, Feb. 21. Ouimette had 25 points in the T-Birds 74-58 loss to the Evergreens.
Jacob friede/lakeland times

Lakeland’s Michael Ouimette scoops a lay-up against D.C. Everest on Thursday, Feb. 21. Ouimette had 25 points in the T-Birds 74-58 loss to the Evergreens.
The Lakeland boys basketball team was roughed up by D.C. Everest in its final regular season game of the year.  

The Evergreens had too much fire power, from too many places, for the Thunderbirds to keep up and Lakeland fell 74-58 at home on Thursday, Feb. 21.

Six different players for Everest had over six points on the night and as a team they knocked down nine three-pointers.

“They just took it to us,” Lakeland head coach Rich Fortier said. “It’s a team that has a lot of components and can shoot the ball. They’re not even that big, but they shoot the ball. They’re fast up the floor.”

And they were dangerously steady, which enabled Everest to make two lethal first half runs when the T-Birds were unable to answer. 

The Evergreens opened the game on an 11-0 run, but Lakeland took the punch well and reacted with a 7-0 run of their own.

However, that wouldn’t be enough to stop the momentum already established by Everest and the Evergreens would proceeded to score 14 unanswered points, led by the stellar passing and shooting of senior guard Zion Turner who had 17 of his 22 points in the first half.

“There’s not a lot we can do with a kid that’s that fast and can score, can shoot, and then sets guys up,” Fortier said. “He got into the teeth of our defense and then just threw to guys for easy layups.”

Colton Kielman, who had 11 in the first half for the Everest, was a frequent recipient of Turner’s assists.

Thanks to another 6-0 run to end the first half, D.C. Everest led at the break 48-25.

But Lakeland still had some fight in them, particularly down low, where Ray Rentmeester and Michael Ouimette worked for some tough, early second half buckets to lead a 9-3 run to chip away at Everest’s lead.

“I thought Mike was tough down on the inside,” Fortier said. “I thought Ray played with a lot of guts.”

But even though Lakeland found more offensive rhythm and outscored Everest 33-26 in the second half, the damage was already done because the Evergreens simply never stopped scoring, avoiding any sort of drought the remainder of the second half.

“We gave great effort,” Fortier said. “It was a good team and when you get on your heels a little bit a good team can kind of just take advantage. And we were on our heels a little bit longer than we wanted to be. They just kept pouring it on and that’s where they established those leads.”

Ouimette led Lakeland with 25 points in the 74-58 loss. Jonathan Jurries had 12 and Ray Rentmeester chipped in five.

For D.C. Everest, Turner led the way with 22 points, followed by Kielman’s 13 and Bryan Halambeck’s 10.

With the loss, Lakeland finished the regular season at 11-11 overall. They finished in fourth place, at 6-6, in the Great Northern Conference.

The T-Birds open regional play in the WIAA state tournament at Medford tonight at 7 p.m.

Jacob Friede may be reached at jacob@lakelandtimes.com or sports@lakelandtimes.com.