TOP DOGS: Lake Mills wins fourth straight TIC West Title

Lake Mills survives a wild and rocky conference championship basketball game to win a fourth straight title under Kyle Menke.

Spring and summer 2023 were filled with unknowns and uncertainty who would coach the Bulldogs this winter, when Lake Mills boys basketball coach Kyle Menke was diagnosis with acute myeloid leukemia. Menke, who has coached the team for a quarter-century, kept his head down and drove to the basket and has been on the bench for Lake Mills throughout the 2023-2024 season to coach his son Eli, and six other seniors to their fourth consecutive Top of Iowa West Conference Title Tuesday night in Armstrong. 

The Bulldogs trailed most of the game, falling behind 21- 15 at the end of the first quarter. They closed the gap from time to time throughout the first half but were still down four at halftime, 41-37.

Lake Mills was in the winner-take-all conference championship after falling to North Union at home on December 19th, 47-43, but were determined to keep that from happening again on the biggest stage of the season to this point.

The two teams went back and forth in the third, but North Union did enough to extend the lead to 55-50. With just eight minutes remaining on the clock, Lake Mills outscored North Union 20-13 in the fourth and got some of the best on-ball defense from senior Logan Bacon which left North Union with a tough ‘make’em earn it’ three-pointer for the win that came up empty, allowing the fans in purple to erupt in celebration – winning 70-68.

Lake Mills was led by Aiden Stensrud who scored 23 points, Lance Helming added 20, and Eli Menke another 14 for Lake Mills.

An early candidate for moment of the year, following the final horn and with celebrating players and teammates all around them, Lake Mills coach Kyle Menke and son Eli embrace as four-time conference champs.

By Lory Groe

The season continues Friday when the Bulldogs attempt to end the regular season 20-1 by playing Newman Catholic.

The fourth ranked Bulldogs will open the postseason in the second round next week against either West Bend-Mallard or North Iowa.




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