Ogichidaa are finding their way

 

January 26, 2024

Dave Harwig

Fond du Lac's Chazz Martineau finds a loose ball against North Woods during a Jan. 16 game in Cloquet. The Ogichidaag are 3-9 on the season and working to find a rhythm on the court.

At first look, one might expect the Fond du Lac boys basketball team to be long in experience. A deeper look shows that the Ogichidaa have a number of older players, but most don't have a lot of experience playing high school ball.

"We do have five seniors, but really only a couple of them have time on the floor at this level," said coach Cameron Thompson. "We have a lot of players that are stepping into new roles this season."

The Ogichidaa record is 3-9, but the numbers don't tell the whole story.

"We've had a lot of close games, so I don't think our record speaks to how well we've played," Thompson said.

"In a number of those games we had leads late in the game and we just couldn't close the game out."

On Jan. 16, the team gave visiting North Woods all they could handle. The Ogichidaa led 39-37 at the half and made a late charge in the second, losing 88-76. Three days later, last Friday night, the team notched a decisive win in Bigfork, 83-56.

Offensively, FDL leans on 6-foot-3 Jordell Brown. Their defensive cornerstone, Anthony Reynolds, is another 6-foot-3 senior.

"Jordell is really the heart of our offense," Thompson said. "Defensively, Reynolds always guards the other team's best player."

At point guard, Allen Defoe runs the offense. On the boards, they look to Richard Hearle to handle the chores.

"Allen is a good facilitator of the basketball," Thompson said. "Hearle is a great rebounder. He does the dirty work on the glass and works through contact and is another good asset to the team."

Jeff Defoe has also started to step into a larger role and has been a solid defender for FDL.

Dave Harwig

"We are now at full strength with our roster and we are learning our identity," Thompson said. "We are fighters and don't quit. I tell the guys, 'Have fun, work hard and leave everything on the floor, and then we can live with the results.'"

Both Ricco Defoe and James Wichern have also started to settle into more prominent roles for the team as they enter the last month and a half of the season.

"I'd like to see us be more fluid and under control down the stretch," Thompson said. "If we can give a strong effort on defense, we will see more positive outcomes."

The Ogichidaa were scheduled to play Hill City at home Thursday night, with the next home game Tuesday against Mountain Iron-Buhl. Games start at 7:15 p.m.

 
 

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