Fast starts have been commonplace for the Four Winds-Minnewaukan boys basketball team this season.

Fast starts have been commonplace for the Four Winds-Minnewaukan boys basketball team this season. The No. 1 squad in the state came quickly out of the gates again Thursday afternoon in the first round of the Ramsey County Invitational.

A 14-0 start in the first four minutes got the Indians going and they never looked back. Behind a blistering defensive effort and hot shooting, Four Winds-Minnewaukan earned a 89-32 triumph over Lakota. With the win, the Indians improve to 5-0 on the season. The Raider are now 2-2.

"The kids came out and took care of business from the get go," head coach Rick Smith told the Journal. "We had a fast start and set the tempo early on. I felt like it was a good overall effort and a nice way to start the Ramsey County Invitational."

It was all Four Winds-Minnewaukan early on. A three by Irv Tomahawk and transition buckets by Jaylen LaRock and Steve Redfox gave the team an early double-digit advantage. A long distance shot by Tronis McKay and jumpers by Tomahawk and Redfox gave the Indians a 24-2 advantage. Inside buckets by Colton Berg and Logan Schuh gave Lakota some late momentum.

The Indians led 27-6 after one period of play.

The second was more of the same as Four Winds-Minnewaukan used aggressive defense to translate into points. Layups by McKay and Charlie Black extended the team's advantage to 22. Lakota worked to battle back behind a three by Jaden Varnson and jumpers by Brandon Phan and Phillip Steffan.

But, the Indians had just too much firepower. Three-point shots by Tanner Dauphinais and Doug Yankton along with an inside bucket by Ashton Thompson helped Four Winds-Minnewaukan take a 53-18 advantage into the locker room at the half.
Four Winds-Minnewaukan came out strong again in the third. LaRock added a steal and a basket, followed by a three to put his team up 36. Tomahawk added another three-point shot while McKay scored three straight buckets including a dunk.

The Raiders found some offensive success inside as Varnson and Schuh scored in the post.

The Indians, however, closed out the third with a layup by Black and another bucket by McKay to take a commanding 80-27 advantage going into the fourth.

The final stanza, played with a running clock, was controlled by Four Winds-Minnewaukan. Yankton hit a three and Gionni Robertson and Kholby Cavanaugh added buckets. Hunter Gibson hit a three for Lakota.
Ultimately, the Indians won 89-32.

"One of the keys for us tonight was our intensity," Smith said. "I was pleased that our guys were able to keep the intensity throughout especially on defense. Then our reserves came in and played hard too."

McKay led all scorers with 25 to lead Four Winds-Minnewuakan. LaRock finished with 15 points while Steve Redfox chipped in with 11. Yankton added 10 points while Tomahawk had eight. Black finished with seven points and Dauphinais had five. Robertson, Fred Redfox, Thompson and Cavanaugh rounded out the scoring with two points each.
Leading the Raiders was Phillip Steffan with seven points. Berg and Gibson finished with six points each. Varnson had five points

while Schuh finished with four points. Nathan Steffan and Phan had two points apiece to round out the scoring for Lakota.

Lakota takes on Benson County in consolation action Friday at 3 p.m.

Four Winds-Minnewaukan now matches up with Dakota Prairie. The Knights are coming off of a first-round win over Benson County. The team was led by Hunter Sand with 32 points.

"Wherever he goes, they go," Smith said of Sand. "And he has done a great job so far, he is just a really smart basketball player. You want to focus on him, but it's tough because the rest of their team is playing at a high level."

The game is set to begin at 6 p.m.

"Dakota Prairie is a very good basketball team. (Dakota Prairie head coach) Rich (Danielson) always does a very nice job with them. They match up pretty well with us, because of their quick guards. I expect a tough game against a good team. It should be a lot of fun."