Boys Basketball Roundup...News about Fond du Lac, Carlton and other area schoolsFast-paced Ogichidaa runs by Carlton
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Accustomed to the sizeable buildings of Duluth and Superior public schools growing up, Davonte Williamson was unfamiliar with the tiny hallways of Fond du Lac (FDL) Ojibwe School on his first day.
Still, it didn’t take him long to find the gymnasium.
Williamson, who transferred to the small Cloquet tribal school from Superior, Wis., to catch up on education credits, has already made an immediate impact for the Ogichidaa boys basketball team.
Williamson teamed up with classmate Trevontae Brown to lead FDL in flattening neighboring Carlton 77-53 Monday evening in Carlton. Brown scored 29 points, while Williamson added in 24 of his own.
“He’s a quick slasher who is hard to stop off the dribble and is a good rebounder,” said second-year Ogichidaa Coach Earl Otis before practice Tuesday. “He can shoot threes, too, but his forte is playing in the paint, taking the ball to the basket and getting to the hole.”
Slapping on their whole-court zone trap Monday, FDL frazzled the Bulldogs a bit, turning eventual giveaways into easy baskets. The Ogichidaa led early, including 36-30 at halftime.
“We wanted Carlton to play our game,” Otis said of their traditional up-tempo style. “We’re fast-paced, run-and-gun and, actually, our five starters are faster and much quicker than last year.”
Williamson, a 6-foot-3, 165-pound junior forward, is a part of that starting five for the Ogichidaa (6-4). Averaging roughly 25 points and nearly 10 rebounds per game, according to Otis, Williamson has been a nice fit for a team that recently won the Proctor Holiday Invitational and is seeking a third straight trip to the Section 7A semifinals.
“I really like it here,” said Williamson, playing in his first year of high school basketball after competing in summer and traveling youth leagues when younger. “We like to press, break, press, all game long. It took us a few games, but now we’re playing as a team.”
Davonte’s younger brother, Lester, is the team’s starting point guard as a freshman. Mixed with veterans in the sharp-shooting Brown, Bruce Martineau and Devyn Dupuis, FDL has won four straight.
“We’re starting to hit threes, make layups and we like running the break,” Lester said. “There are not many kids in this school, but it just gives us more time to concentrate on school and basketball.”
Carlton Coach Adam Bailey said his Bulldogs (3-8) need to play better basketball. He said Monday’s fourth straight loss was caused by careless turnovers just nights after a three-point loss to rival Barnum.
Senior Carlton guard Erik Adams led all scorers Monday with 36 points.
“We’re firing on one cylinder right now,” Bailey said. “We’re going to lose some games we shouldn’t lose, but we have to start winning some games we shouldn’t win. We had a good practice tonight, and I think we’ll turn the corner.
“Don’t overlook us. Don’t count us out, because we’re going to play hard until the very end.”
“I think we showed we can play with any team – with how we played against Barnum,” said Adams, a fourth-year player. “We just have to mentally stay focused and make smart decisions.”
Decisions like Davonte Williamson makes every morning, riding the bus from his Duluth home to his new school miles away.
“I like it a lot. I think Lester does, too,” Davonte said. “The first couple days I was like any new student. Now, I have a lot of friends.”
Barnum (10-1) blitzed New Life Academy 100-83 Saturday at home, a night after slipping by Polar League rival Carlton on the road. The Bombers have won four straight and only lost at Braham this year.
Cloquet (5-4) carded a 72-58 win on Lake Superior Conference visitor Ashland Tuesday, as the Lumberjacks have won four of five recently.
Cromwell-Wright (4-4) wrote up their fourth win in five games by mauling Polar League host McGregor 75-32 Tuesday.
Esko (10-2) was edged by visiting Duluth East 85-72 Tuesday night, adding to a road defeat to Mora within a week. The Eskomos eluded Moose Lake-Willow River Saturday, for a Polar League win.
Moose Lake-Willow River (6-3) ran off four victories to begin the season, but have since dropped three of their previous five, including a 76-62 Polar League loss Saturday at arch-rival Esko.
South Ridge (5-4) rolled by host North Woods 78-51 Tuesday night, snapping the Panthers’ previous three-game losing stretch.
Wrenshall (3-5) won their opening two games, yet have only posted one victory in a month, losing five of their last six affairs.
FDLTCC (3-8) finished winter break and hosted the University of Wisconsin-Superior junior varsity Wednesday in Cloquet. The Thunder, losers of eight straight, travel to Mesabi Range Friday.