Boys Basketball: Illikainen leads Thunderhawks past Warriors
GRAND RAPIDS — Highly touted 6-foot-10 junior Alex Illikainen scored 28 points for Grand Rapids as the Thunderhawks defeated the Brainerd Warriors 66-43 in the season opener for both teams Tuesday night.
Adam Thomson added 12 points for the Thunderhawks, who led 37-12 at the half.
“We had a little trouble with (Illakainen), he’s pretty good,” Warriors coach Scott Stanfield said. “We sent him to the free throw line quite a bit and he made his free throws.
“We executed our offense and played pretty good defense. We just missed a ton of shots and a ton of free throws. That’s not like us. We were missing some of our shooters that will be joining us Tuesday. That will change the way we look.
“The effort from the kids who played was really good. You can’t ask for a better effort. Our defense was pretty good. We’ll score points down the road, there’s no doubt about that.”
In his varsity debut, Hunter Casper scored 14 points to lead the Warriors.
“Hunter had a really good, active game,” Stanfield said. “He’s an undersized post but he was really aggressive to the ball. He did a real did nice job for us. He’s going to have a good year.”
Grand Rapids 37 29 — 66
Brainerd 12 31 — 43
Jason Bibeau 2, Josh Johnson 3, Adam Thomson 12, Evan Reitter 2, Trevor Elhard 5, Cole Herring 4, Jonathon Shields 6, Alex Illikainen 28, Hunter Dubbels 4. FT 15-26.
Michael Russell 8, Geoff Sheflo 7, Logan Madsen 6, Jacob Russell 6, Hunter Casper 14, Kobe Ahonen 2. FT 9-20. 3-point baskets: 4. Overall: 0-1. Next: host Rocori 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3.