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High School Boys Basketball: Brueckl’s three-point exploits propel Lake Shore to road win

Clark Brueckl, who here drives to the basket in a game earlier this season, stepped outside to do his damage at Pioneer. (Photo courtesy of Ron Larson)
Pioneer provided the venue. Clark Brueckl gave the show.

The senior guard knocked down a school-record nine three-pointers on his way to 34 points in Lake Shore’s 80-48 victory over Pioneer on the road Feb. 4.

One of Brueckl’s buckets was almost 10 feet behind the three-point line as he knocked down 9 of 12 attempts from beyond the arc, including making his first five.

“He was feeling comfortable. You could see it when he first came out there that he was sure of himself and confident, and he let it fly,” Lake Shore head coach Dan Gerken said. “The threes he made were very unassuming looking. He didn’t force any.

“People may say, ‘how do you let him shoot some of those shots, but he just keeps on making them,” he added. “When he gets that feel, I tell him ‘just put it in the basket. I don’t care where you do it from.’ He was feeling it.”

Brueckl’s hot shooting also got Lake Shore off to a good start, allowing the Eagles to take some chances and create turnovers and quick buckets using a pressing defense. Gerken said Lake Shore was able to play its transition game, instead of allowing a beefier Pioneer team to dictate the pace.

“We wanted to keep it simple for them by limiting what they had to think about and just increasing focus on fewer aspects of the game,” said Gerken, whose team broke a three-game losing streak to improve to 6-8 overall and 4-7 in ECIC III play. “We were looking to beat them down the floor and the fast break worked well against they’re 6-foot-5 and 6-4 guys. We don’t have the bulk in the middle like them so we emphasized what we had to exploit.”

Junior guard Wade Bergum enjoyed a big night, as well, scoring 21 points and assisting on 10 on other baskets, many of them belonging to Brueckl. Gerken said Bergum is already a tremendous athlete, who just needed to play with a little more confidence.

“We’re a harder team to defend when Wade plays like that,” Gerken said. “He drove to the basket for points and kicked it out. He helps give us an inside/outside presence.”

During a 24-point first quarter, Matt Vona scored five points, including hitting a three of his own. Lake Shore, which led 45-29 at halftime, earned a little redemption after losing by five points to the same team on Jan. 11.

“It was nice also because they did beat us at our place, and the kids were aggravated about that,” Gerken noted.

Lake Shore, which has won five of its six games on the road this year, returns home next to play Depew on Friday, Feb. 8. Gerken jokingly proposed to athletics director Daryl Besant that the team ride around in a bus for 20 minutes before the game to give his players the illusion that it’s a road game. But the district will not be providing that proposed bus ride, he quipped.

Also on Monday, Williamsville South outlasted Hamburg 71-59 in ECIC II action. After South built a 17-7 lead following the first quarter, Hamburg cut it to six at the half and then down 35-21 in the third, slashed the deficit to five going into the fourth.

However, South forward Damian Powers scored all 24 of his points in the second half, while senior standout Chaq Nettles gave a solid all-around effort to also finish with 24 to hold off Hamburg. Senior point guard Kyle Violanti scored seven of his 14 points in the third to lead Hamburg on a 19-10 run to end the quarter. Fellow senior Andrew Sardinia added 13 points and junior Griffin Ryan notched 12. The Bulldogs fell to 7-8 overall and 5-5 in ECIC II.

Frontier was unable to push into the top three in ECIC I after suffering a pair of losses, 61-44 to Clarence on Jan. 29 and 76-58 at Williamsville North three days later. The Falcons fell to 7-7 overall and 5-5 in division play.

Clarence broke open a close game with a 20-7 run in the fourth quarter as Frontier turned the ball over 21 times. Against North, 18 turnovers and a lack of rebounding hurt Frontier, according to head coach Gary Domzalski. Junior David Rajski recorded a combined 27 points in the two losses to lead Frontier.

“We are finding out we have to play great to beat some teams and near perfect to beat others,” Domzalski noted.

After starting the season 0-10, Eden earned its third victory in the last six games and also won for the first time in division play in two seasons when it knocked off JFK 56-42 on Monday (Feb. 4).

Junior guard Brad Palmerton added to already stellar numbers this season with an 18-point performance. Teammates Brett Gilson, AJ Feldman and Lou Bartus each added 10 points.


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