Blahnik steps up for Wolves
CARNEY – Missing starting point guard Keenan Lampinen and sixth man Caine Knaus, Carney-Nadeau was going to need a boost to knock off Mid Peninsula at home on Thursday.
Luckily for the Wolves Dionte Blahnik and Jason DuPont combined to score 48 points and the defense did the rest as Carney-Nadeau ran away with a 81-43 dual conference victory.
“I thought we played great defensively,” said Carney head coach Jacob Polfus. “I thought we took away what they wanted to do and had other guys step up like (Austin) Johnson and DuPont, and Blahnik played a tremendous game all around.”
Blahnik was a force on both the defensive and offensive end all night. The senior forward poured in a game high and matched a career high with 28 points and also added 18 rebounds and seven steals.
“He had seven steals and 18 rebounds so Dionte played a great all around game,” Polfus said. “He continues to impress me more and more each game by the way he plays.”
Carney (5-1, 3-1 CUP, 4-1 Skyline) jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead but Mid Peninsula (1-6, 0-3, 1-4) answered with a 9-0 run to take a 9-6 lead midway through the first quarter. The Wolves responded by closing out the quarter on a 12-0 run as they led 18-9 after the first. DuPont scored the last eight points of the quarter, including back-to-back 3-pointers. Polfus said the defensive intensity increased midway through the first quarter and that led to points on the other end.
“I think our defense finally picked up,” he said. “You know we’ve been working hard on that because we’ve been giving up to many points and I think the kids are starting to buy into the communication part of that and they did a great job of adjusting to what was going on and we really picked up the pace after that.”
The Wolves kept up the pressure in the second quarter, scoring the first 14 points in the midst of a 26-0 run. Blahnik made his presence felt in the second, netting 19 points in the quarter, mostly off lay-ups from steals.
Blahnik and the Carney defense also made life difficult for Wolverines point guard Evan Winkelbauer as they threw double teams and traps at him for most of the game.
“The pressure has always been part of our game and I think that we are starting to incorporate that more into our game plan this year. I think we’ve got to stick with it,” Blahnik said.
“We knew that he was going to be the one taking most of the shots and handling it, so we just wanted to jump and double every now and then, throw different looks at him.”
Carney built a 49-18 lead by the half and the running clock was in place at the end of the third quarter on.
Mid Peninsula head coach Mark Branstrom said his team was outplayed in all facets of the game.
“Carney just outplayed us in every aspect of the game,” Branstrom said. “It’s a testament to what they do over there basketball-wise. It’s a testament to those kids over there and their coaches. We’ve got to get back to square one and start all over again.”
The Wolves had the hot hand from deep early as they connected on seven first half 3-pointers. DuPont hit six from downtown in the game and Johnson added two more. Eric Selken also netted two triples for the Wolves who shot 48 percent from the field.
“That’s what we wanted to see. When shooters are open they want to take their shots but I thought the kids worked the ball around good and got it to the right people, and they’re free to shoot that three anytime,” Polfus said.
The Wolves were without senior guard Keenan Lampinen who suffered a sprained ankle the day before the game.
Carney is back in action tonight as it hosts Big Bay de Noc. Mid Peninsula hits the road Monday to take on Big Bay de Noc.