BOYS BASKETBALL: Ogichidaa outrunning opponents
CLOQUET—Perhaps the only time the Fond du Lac Ojibwe boys basketball team was slowed down last week was when the official had to tie his shoe and pause the game.
Trevontae Brown scored a game-high 25 points to lead six teammates in double figures as the Ogichidaa obliterated Learning for Leadership Charter School 124-41 in Cloquet last Friday night, marking their latest opponent to be outrun.
Official Steve Knutson — with his shoelace coming untied possibly due to the game’s fast, entertaining pace — briefly halted play in the first minute of the second session, but by then, the 83-point pounding, 71-19 by half, was over.
FDL (9-1) is fueled by their overwhelming offense — averaging a state-best 100.5 points per game — featuring a backyard-like style of 3-pointers, jumpers and crowd-arousing slam dunks. Yet, what most people may not have noticed in the Ogichidaa’s absurd mid-first half 35-0 run last week was their trap defense, creating countless layups and easy scores.
Scoring over the century mark for a fourth time already this winter, the unselfish FDL spread out their scoring attack, with Jordan Diver adding 22 points, Davonte Williamson 19, Bruce Martineau 16, Cameron Thompson 15 and Dexter DeLille 12.
Brown, the team’s lone senior, said “no,” they don’t try to run-it-up on opponents, but that “baskets just come naturally.”
“We run a lot, and — as you can notice — it works,” he continued. “It’s a fast-paced game. It’s just the way we play.”
Playing with three students currently enrolled at Cloquet High School this season — Diver, Thompson and Antonio Flores — FDL fields a new look, only adding to an already aggressive attack.
According to Cloquet Athletic Director Tom Lenarz, the two schools have had an agreement — allowed by the Minnesota State High School League — since 1990, where Native American students are allowed to attend either school and play sports at whichever they choose for that school year.
However, once students choose either Cloquet or FDL, they are not eligible at the other school until the next school year, when they need to choose again. In his email, Lenarz wrote the original goal behind this agreement was to increase participation in activities for Native American students.
Thompson, a 6-foot, 220-pound junior forward, said he drives from Cloquet High School each day to practice at FDL.
“It’s different,” said Thompson, who lives on the Reservation, “but I’ve been playing with these guys my whole life.”
A lifelong-memory-making moment occurred before the boys game last week when Cloquet senior Drewrez Budreau broke the small tribal school’s girls basketball single-game scoring record, as the 5-foot-9 center nailed nine 3-pointers en route to 51 points in the Ogichidaa’s 96-16 lashing of the visiting Mustangs.
“I think I just had the hot hand, to be honest” said Budreau, a basketball player since the sixth grade whose previous game-high was 19, before the modest competitor’s career outburst last week. “Now I get to brag to my brother.”
“She couldn’t miss,” added second-year FDL boys basketball
Coach Earl Otis, tracking Budreau’s rebounds, too.
The game’s scorekeeper, Dale Sautbine, the school’s volleyball coach and art teacher since 1983, said Budreau broke Renee VanNett’s previous mark of 47 points.
Like the surprising one-loss girls, the FDL boys, too, have been beaten just once, falling to local opponent Moose Lake-Willow River. An optimistic Otis said his team is learning to be selfless.
“They’re looking at the big picture,” said Otis, noting “state” is the team’s goal. “They know if they pass the ball, they’ll be pretty tough to beat with the weapons we have.”
“If the inside game is working, we’ll go there,” Thompson said. “And if we kick it out, most of the time the shots fall in.”
So quick that shoelaces can come untied trying to keep up.
“They’re a good team — they can score in a hurry,” added LLCS Coach Derrick Jones, in his fourth season at the small northeastern Minneapolis charter school. “If you don’t keep them under 100 points, it’s going to be hard to beat them.”
Barnum (8-1) buried visiting Polar League visitor Silver Bay 85-25 last Friday, as the 60-point pummeling was the Class AA’s eighth-ranked Bombers’ seventh straight victory.
Carlton (2-8) carded its second win, beating Polar League host McGregor 64-48 last Friday.
Cloquet (9-1) crept past rival Duluth East 59-55 Saturday at home — a first for the Lumberjacks since the 1998-99 season.
Cromwell-Wright (1-9) was again upended last Friday when the Cardinals, losers of seven consecutive contests, fell 77-57 to Polar League visitor Moose Lake-Willow River.
Esko (9-1) claimed its second straight Esko Coaches Classic crown Dec. 28, but the Eskomos — the state’s top-ranked team in Class AA — have been idle in the New Year.
Moose Lake-Willow River (6-4) ran past Polar League host Cromwell-Wright 77-57 last Friday, as a healthier Rebels team rolled to a third win in four tries.
South Ridge (6-2) relinquished its previous six-game winning streak Dec. 30 in a 73-35 loss to visiting Barnum.
Wrenshall (6-4) was heartbroken by Polar League visitor Floodwood 68-67 last Friday, losing their third game in a row in a close contest.
FDLTCC (3-9) faired even at last weekend’s Mesabi Range Invitational in Virginia. The Thunder tipped Gogebic 76-73 Friday before losing to United Tribes 87-77 a da