SAM DOKKEBAKKEN goes high above his defender to score early in Thursday’s game. He led Big Lake with 25 points in a 92-66 win over Princeton.

Hornets tame Tigers, 92-66

Staff Writer
Ken Francis
The Big Lake boys basketball team turned a close game into a rout Thursday, beating Princeton 92-66 at home.
The Hornets and Tigers played evenly early in the game. Big Lake used its inside strength to score, while the Tigers relied on their outside shooting to put points on the board.
Sam Dokkebakken was a force inside in the opening minutes. He scored eight of Big Lake’s first 12 points by taking the ball to the basket.
But the Tigers kept pace without the need to get into the paint. Their jump shots were on target, and after consecutive three-pointers a few seconds apart, they pulled away to a 17-12 lead with 11:35 left in the first half.
That’s when the Hornets forced the issue inside again. Eric Chuba drove for a score and was fouled. He missed the free throw, but Austin Poe put in the rebound. Poe came right back for a layup 15 seconds later. Then Chuba turned a steal into a layup and Dokkebakken scored inside again to cap an 11-0 run that gave the Hornets a 23-17 lead with 9:53 in the half.
The Tigers kept relying on their outside shooting and managed to stay close with two more three-pointers. But every time they missed, the Hornets grabbed the rebound.
Big Lake went on another run of 8-0 to lead, 37-24 with 5:03 left, then closed out the half with an 8-2 run for a 49-35 lead at the break.
But even a 14-point lead isn’t safe when the other team can hit three-pointers, and the Hornets knew they couldn’t sit on the lead.
They didn’t.
Big Lake continued to go inside, then turned Tiger misses into fast-break layups.
Dokkebakken scored on a lob pass. Poe scored on a back door layup. Dokkebakken hit three more inside shots, and Big Lake suddenly had a 60-41 lead with 14:10 left.
Princeton’s only response was another three-pointer  30 seconds later.
Then five different Hornets put together another 12-0 run. Tyler Halverson scored twice. Jake Pribnow had a layup. Poe put in a rebound. Dokkebakken sank a free throw and Mike Doperalski hit a three pointer, giving Big Lake a 72-44 lead just six minutes into the half.
The Tigers never got closer than 20 points the rest of the way, and Big Lake Coach Kurt Brethorst had an opportunity to give his entire team some time on the court.
Dokkebakken had 25 points to lead all scorers. Doperalski scored 17, including three three-pointers. Poe and Pribnow each had 14 points and Halverson had eight.
Monday, the Hornets played poorly and let one slip away at Chisago Lakes, 68-66.
“We struggled in all areas of the game,” said Brethorst. “Chisago Lakes worked hard on both ends of the court.”
The Hornets couldn’t get their shots to fall. And they shot just as poorly at the free-throw line in the first half, hitting just seven of 16.
Chisago Lakes, led 35-26 at the half.
Big Lake’s shooting percentage wasn’t much better after the break. But they closed the gap thanks to four three-pointers by Doperalski and some hustle by Halverson, who scored all of his 12 points after the break.
But it wasn’t enough to win the game.
The Hornets finished 18-42 from two-point range, 7-20 from three-point range and 11-25 from the free throw line.
“It was a night of extremely poor shooting,” said Brethorst.
Doperalski finished with 25 points. Halverson scored 12. Dokkebakken had nine and Chuba had eight.
The Hornets are 14-7 on the season. They host Rogers Tuesday and Monticello Friday, both games at 7:15 p.m.


FIGHTING DESTRUCTIVE INSECTS. State plant health specialists Angie Ambourn, center, and Jennifer Dippel took part in a presentation on the emerald ash borer (EAB) in Elk River Monday morning. The state is partnering with the Sherburne Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) in an effort to slow the spread of the insects, which include a survey in which volunteers look for increased woodpecker activity and other natural signs that could indicate an EAB infestation. (Photos by David Hannula)

JODI AND BEN BROWN volunteered to man the Minnesota Grown booth at the state fair last year.


ALL STATE ELITE gymnast Mallary Dick on beam.

The Big Lake 14 Elite volleyball team took third place in the President’s Day Festival Tournament, which incudes 64 schools from around the state. Team members are (front) Emily Zinken and Emma Pupeza. Standing are Kayla Ahrens, Haley Newhouse, Logan Miller, Sage Wuornos, Annika Poe, Megan Carlson, Makenzie Reiter, and Hailey Atwood. Not pictured is Alyssa Rezac. (Submitted photo).