•  Dahl, Panitzke, Gruber and Alexander key first victory for the Lakers

The Minnewaska Area boys basketball team put everything together during a 67-49 win over Benson, Thursday night at home.

The Lakers played a great game, shooting 50 percent from the field while forcing Benson into numerous turnovers which led to easy baskets.

Minnewaska Area, which improved to 1-12 overall, led 40-27 at halftime before outscoring the Braves 27-22 in the second half.

“We played a complete game for the first time all year tonight and it feels a lot better when you can end up with a win afterwards,” first-year head coach Zach Traphagen said.  “I’m very proud of the effort, the unselfishness and the heart that our guys played with all night.”

Tenzin Dahl led the Lakers with 21 points and four rebounds, while Marc Gruber added 14 points and Alex Panitzke had a great all-around game with 12 points, seven assists and two steals.

The Lakers have three games scheduled for this week, beginning with a game at Barnesville, Tuesday (tomorrow), followed by a game at home against Litchfield, Thursday, and a contest at BOLD, Saturday

Waska 67, Benson 49

The Lakers picked up their first win of the season during a 67-49 home win over Benson, Thursday.  Minnewaska Area never trailed during the game, building up early leads of 7-1, 20-7 and 29-16 before settling for a 40-27 halftime lead.

The Lakers’ full-court press caused numerous turnovers by the Braves, leading to several easy layups.  A steal and layup by Alex Panitzke put the Lakers up 13-5 with about 11 minutes left in the first half and a steal by Owen Meulebroeck, who fed Panitzke for an easy layup, helped the Lakers go up 23-9 with 5:32 left in the opening half.

Benson scored four-straight points to cut the lead to 10 (23-13), but Marc Gruber hit two-straight 3-pointers over a 30-second stretch to keep the Lakers up 29-16 and Minnewaska Area maintained that 13-point lead going into halftime after Tenzin Dahl hit three-straight shots in a one-minute span to increase the Lakers lead from 31-20 to 37-20 with just over a minute left.

The Lakers picked right off in the second half where they left in the first, building a 51-33 lead on a basket by Dylan Alexander and 61-45 on another two-pointer by Dahl.

Luke Danielson’s basket with 1:07 left in the game put the Lakers up 67-49 and that would be all the scoring during the game as the Lakers players, fans and coaches began to celebrate their team’s first win.

“This was a big win for us and I’m proud of the guys,” coach Traphagen said.  “We avoided having the bad lapses offensively and turned up the pressure defensively to play more of our style. We will continue to get back to work and not be satisfied with where we’re at.”

Dahl was 10-of-17 from the field on the way to a game-high 21 points, four rebounds and three steals, while Gruber was 6-of-10 while totaling 14 points, two assists, five boards and two steals, and Panitzke was 4-of-7 while scoring 12 points and adding seven assists, two rebounds and two steals.

Overall, the Lakers recorded 15 steals and turned the ball over just five times.  Minnewaska Area also shot just under 50 percent from the field (27-of-55), including 4-of-15 from long range, along with 9-of-14 at the charity stripe.

Connor Frey had five of his team’s first seven points on the way to eight points and four boards, while Dylan Alexander had another great all-around game with six points, six assists, three rebounds and two steals, Danielson and Zach Palmer both had two points and Meulebroeck and Jack Majerus both had one.

•  Members of the 2023-24 Minnewaska Area boys basketball varsity roster are seniors Austin Ballhagen, Alex Panitzke, Ryland Martin, Dylan Alexander and Jack Majerus; juniors Zach Palmer, Levi Johnson, Jacob Mrnak, Zachary Gugisberg, Tenzin Dahl, Ian Mills, Carter Meyer, Kaiden Harvey, Connor Frey, Owen Meulebroeck and Chase Wacker; and sophomores Marc Gruber and Luke Danielson.

at Waska 67, Benson 49

Benson 27 22 — 49

Waska (1-12) 40 27 — 67

WASKA stats:  27-55 FG (4-15 3pt); 9-14 FT; 21 assists; 23 rebounds; 15 steals; 15 fouls; 5 turnovers . . . Scoring:  Tenzin Dahl 21, Marc Gruber 14, Alex Panitzke 12, Connor Frey 8, Dylan Alexander 6, Zach Palmer 2, Luke Danielson 2, Owen Meulebroeck 1, Jack Majerus 1 . Rebounding:  Gruber 5, Dahl 4, Frey 4, Alexander 3, Panitzke 2, Majerus 2  . . . Assists:  Panitzke 7, Alexander 6, Levi Johnson 2, Gruber 2, Frey 2 . . . Steals:  Majerus 3, Dahl 3, Meulebroeck 2, Alexander 2, Panitzke 2, Gruber 2

BENSON stats:   Stats not available

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