Nick’s Notebook: Lakeville North’s offense more than the Nathan Reuvers show

Brooks dribbles down the court last season. Photo by Jim Lindquist

Although junior Nathan Reuvers scored 59 points in Lakeville North’s first two wins, the Panthers are much more than the Nathan Reuvers show.

Cover Reuvers, who is 6-foot-9, and 6-foot-7 guard Carter Brooks scores baskets.

Focus on Brooks and Reuvers and Calvin Pesola hits three-pointers all day.

In Lakeville North’s 81-73 victory over No. 5 Wayzata, Reuvers scored 29 points, but the efforts of Brooks and Pesola finished the game for the Panthers when the Trojans drew close toward the end. Brooks scored 19 points while Pesola scored 17 points, creating a difficult offense for the opposition to stop.

“Offensively, we’ve got a lot of weapons, which is fun to see,” Lakeville North coach John Oxton said. “Anytime, (we) can score.”

This wasn’t the case in 2014-2015 when the Panthers struggled at times offensively. Lakeville North’s leading-scorer Connor Flack faced back injury complications, forcing him to miss time and be ineffective at times.

Flack’s injury in addition to having younger players on the court led to an offense that didn’t have the scoring capability that it has now.

“We are a little more balanced than we were last year,” Oxton said. “We’ve got a lot of guys who can shoot the ball.”

Pesola is one of those guys, and the senior guard knows he will need to hit most of his shots this season because of the opportunities he will have. With teams focusing on Reuvers, who has 14 scholarship offers, and Brooks, a Division-II commit, Pesola won’t likely face the opposition’s top defenders.

“I love it,” Pesola said. “I have to step up, and I love it.”

Pesola and Oxton both said Pesola’s is best when shooting from the three-point line, which is where Pesola helped the Panthers win a state championship his sophomore season.

Because opponents often focused on J.P. Macura, who is currently playing basketball for Xavier University, Pesola saw open looks and often converted.

“(J.P.) gave me so many open shots and it is the same thing with Reuvers and Carter (Brooks),” Pesola said.

Although opponents will try to first stop Reuvers and Brooks from scoring, Oxton sees leaving Pesola open as a big mistake.

“If you leave Calvin open, he is going to make shots,” Oxton said. “He is a really good shooter.”

Other news and notes:

The Lakeville North boys’ hockey team opens its season against Stillwater at Ames Arena at 7 pm on Tuesday, but I won’t be able to make it unfortunately as I will be in Arizona visiting Arizona State and its Cronkite School of Journalism.

My Star Tribune Hockey Hub colleague Jesse Krull will have updates throughout the game, though. Follow along here:

—Lakeville North boys’ basketball faces Bloomington Jefferson on Tuesday, and I’m told a Clemson assistance coach will be in attendance to watch Reuvers. Clemson hasn’t offered Reuvers, but coaches came to watch him at an open gym in the fall. Expect Reuvers to visit Clemson soon, and an offer may not be far behind if coaches like what they see on Tuesday. Reuvers has 14 offers.

—Lakeville North girls’ basketball is off to a 2-0 start to its season after defeating both White Bear Lake and Bloomington Kennedy at the Hamline Holiday Tournament this past weekend. Temi Carda, a junior guard, was named to the all-tournament team.

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