JAKE PRIBNOW gets open for one of his three-pointers in the first half against Orono.

Hornets come up short vs Orono, 61-60

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Staff Writer
Ken Francis
The Big Lake boys basketball team started quickly but couldn’t hold on to a lead late in the game and lost to Orono, 61-60 Thursday.
Against a taller team, the Hornets worked the ball around early and used hot outside shooting to their advantage.
Mike Doperalski opened the scoring with a three-pointer at 17:52. The teams traded baskets for the first five minutes of the game before the Hornets made a few defensive stops and converted them into points.
Jake Pribnow and Eric Chuba hit back-to-back three-pointers near the 12-minute mark. They did the same two minutes later to give Big Lake a 23-14 lead with 10:04 left in the first half.
But Orono settled down and made a few defensive stops of their own. They didn’t force shots from outside to catch up, but worked the ball inside and went on a 10-2 run before closing with a three-pointer with 4:48 left to take a 27-26 lead.
The Hornets rallied again, with Doperalski hitting a layup and three-pointer. Sam Dokkebakken and Chuba each followed with a jumper to give Big Lake a 35-30 lead at the half.
Big Lake extended its lead in the first six minutes of the second half. Austin Poe and Dokkebakken  scored inside and with 12 minutes left, the Hornets led, 43-32.
Six minutes later, the margin was still the same at 51-40. But that’s when things went sour for Big Lake. Those inside shots stopped falling, and combined with three turnovers, the lead disappeared.
Orono went on an 11-0 run and tied the game at 51-51 with 3:40 left.
In the meantime, Big Lake was getting into foul trouble. Dokkebakken had four fouls. Doperalski had three and less than a minute later, Poe picked up his third.
But the Hornets kept working the ball inside. Tyler Halverson and Pribnow each sank two free throws, and when Poe hit a jumper with 1:47 left, Big Lake led, 57-54.
Orono came back with a layup, then a steal and a basket to lead, 58-57 with 50 seconds left.
Doperalski hit two free throws for a 59-58 Big Lake lead 10 seconds later.
But Orono sank a three pointer with 35 seconds left for a 61-59 lead.
The Hornets worked the ball inside, and Poe was fouled with 10.1 seconds left. He missed the first, but sank the second to close the gap to 61-60.
Big Lake committed a foul to stop the clock with 2.2 seconds left. Orono missed the free-throw, and the Hornets called a timeout with 1.8 seconds left. On the inbounds play, Poe took a pass and passed it to Doperalski. But his shot was short and Orono escaped with the win.
Last weekend the Hornets won both their games at the Granite City Classic in St. Cloud.
Friday, Big Lake beat The Blake School, 76-74 on a last second shot by Dokkebakken.
It was an even game throughout, with both teams using outside shooting well.
Doperalski was six for eight from three-point range and Chuba sank two of two.
Blake had 10 three-pointers in the game. 
The Hornets led, 33-31 at the half, and kept the lead as the game went on. But Blake’s John Augustine hit three three-pointers in the final three minutes to tie the game.
Big Lake had the ball with 1:20 left and passed the ball around for an open shot. With 18 seconds left, Chuba’s shot missed, but Dokkebakken got a putback as time expired, giving the Hornets the win.
Doperalski led the Hornets with 18 points, all on three-pointers. Dokke-bakken scored 17. Chuba had 14 and Poe finished with 13. Halverson scored nine points, including 7-8 from the free-throw line.
Big Lake had no problem in their second game, beating Sartell, 76-39.
The Hornets opened with a 20-2 spurt to start the game and never looked back.
“We had efficient, effective offensive sets,” said Coach Kurt Brethorst. “We weren’t dependent on the three-point line for our victory.”
The Hornets full court press created lots of turnovers, leading to easy scores.
Austin Poe had a huge game, scoring 30 points on 13 of 15 shooting, including three of three from long range.
Doperalski was 4-4 from three-point range and finished with 16 points.
Dokkebakken scored 11 points. Chuba had eight and Halverson scored seven.
Big Lake outrebounded Sartell, 24-17 and forced 15 turnovers. The Hornets committed just eight fouls the entire game.
“Our younger players were able to gain experience for next year,” said Brethorst. “They played the last six minutes of the game. It was a good opportunity to build depth.
The Hornets are 9-3 on the season. They host St. Francis 7:15 p.m. Tuesday and visit North Branch Friday.