PLAYOFF ROUNDUP: Wrens still standing in 7A
The opening round of the Section 7A boys basketball tournament was Wednesday, March 7, in Esko with Carlton and Wrenshall coming away with victories and Silver Bay defeating Fond du Lac Ojibwe.
The Wrens edged the Cards in the second-round game Saturday, March 10. Wrenshall advanced to the semifinal against Ely on Thursday, March 15.
Carlton 84, Floodwood 58
The first game of the day Wednesday, March 7, in Esko featured Carlton pounding out an 84-58 win over Floodwood.
The Bulldogs jumped out to an 28-point halftime lead and sustained that advantage throughout the second half.
"We thought we would get Fond du Lac in the first round and we had prepared to play aggressive defensively," Carlton coach Jes-wa Harris said.
And what a flow that turned out to be. Jackson Mickle had the best night of his basketball career, finishing with 24 points.
"Jackson had a career high in scoring at the end of the first half and he was aggressive on the offensive side of the ball," Harris said. "He (Jackson) could not hit a shot the day before in practice and then ends up leading us in scoring and having a career-high 24 points."
Carlton — Spencer Rousseau 2, Miles Bennet 2, Mateo Garcia Agui 2, Jacob Santkuyl 11, Jackson Mickle 24, Mathew Hey 23, Mathew Santkuyl 14, Ben Soderstrom 6. Totals 35 4-12 84.
3-point goals — Mickle 5, Hey 3, M. Santkuyl 2.
Wrenshall 92, South Ridge 72
Game two of the opening round saw Wrenshall down South Ridge with the Wrens racing out to a 51-32 halftime lead and never looking back.
"Our guys never settled for a good shot only great shots," Wrens coach Jon Bartzak said. "The team moved the ball extremely well without the ball and found openings."
Wrenshall set the pace defensively by putting the pressure on the Panthers, which in turn created turnovers and quick transition buckets.
A huge key to the win for Wrenshall was their ability to hit the 3-point shot as they made 13 of the long-range bombs during the game.
"Wrenshall got good looks from the 3-point stripe and they just out hustled us in the beginning of the game," South Ridge coach Joaquim Harris said.
The second half saw the Panthers hang tough with the Wrens, but the first-half damage was too much to overcome.
South Ridge 32-40—72
South Ridge — Nick Carlson 18, Tristin Paulson 6, Joey Janke 14, Jayton Nelson 13, Kaden Palmi 12, Ben Wood 3, Tristan Johnson 3, Joseph Bong 3. Totals 29 10-23 72.
3-point goals — Paulson 2, Wood, Bong.
Wrenshall — Jared Kelley 6, Kyle Despot 2, Nick Mattson 16, Tyler Kelley 24, Wyatt Holmes 2, Chase Duncan 2, Eli Krisak 22, Randy Wimmer 17, Grant Hall 2. Totals 33 7-17 93.
3-point goals — Mattson 2, Kelley 4, Krisak 6, Wimmer.
Silver Bay 66, Fond du Lac Ojibwe 63
Silver Bay needed some last-second heroics from junior Weston Monson and sophomore Mason Ollman on Wednesday, March 7, but the Mariners outlasted a late run by Fond du Lac Ojibwe to take a 66-63 victory in the first round in Proctor.
The Mariners led by three at halftime and built an 52-41 lead off a 19-7 run with six minutes to play. FDL's Jordan Brown, Eddie Defoe and Avery Misquadace and Uriah Aubid all hit 3-pointers to spur a 22-11 run and tie the game with less than a minute to play.
Following a missed shot by the Mariners, FDL guard Uriah Aubid brought the ball back up the court and Ollman poked the ball away and went the other direction with what looked to be a sure two points. Trying to avoid the defenders on his heels, Ollman drove to deep into the lane and missed the layup.
Monson, the Mariners' top rebounder and tallest player, was trailing right behind him and grabbed the offensive rebound.
FDL presented a unique challenge for Silver Bay, a team the Mariners had not faced yet this season. The Ogichidaag are a quick team with good hands. When they get hot from behind the arc, as the Mariners learned, they can put up a lot of points quickly.
Lakeview Christian Academy beat Silver Bay on Saturday, March 10, in their second-consecutive quarterfinal matchup.
Fond du Lac Ojibwe 24-39—63
Silver Bay 27-39—66
Fond du Lac Ojibwe — Jordan Brown 8, Eddie Defoe 3, Avery Misquadace 19, Treshawn Brown 5, Uriah Aubid 18, Jalen Paulson 10. Totals 25 4-6 63.
3-point goals — J. Brown 2, Defoe, Misquadace 4, T. Brown, Aubid.
Wrenshall 67, Carlton 61
Wrenshall senior Tyler Kelley hit four free throws in the final 30 seconds and scored 20 points overall to lift Wrenshall to a 67-61 win over Carlton in the quarterfinals Saturday, March 10, in Hibbing.
Kelley fired his team up at halftime after a sloppy and slow start for the Wrens.
"Tyler was huge leading us in the second half," coach Jon Bartczak said. "He was in that locker room before I went down there telling those guys, 'We're not done with basketball this year.'"
Wrenshall fell behind 17-5 over the first nine minutes of the opening half. The Wrens struggled against Carlton's size, with Bulldog center Ben Soderstrom blocking or altering any shot in the paint.
Wrenshall also committed a number of egregious turnovers in the opening minutes, but sluggish starts have been a recurring theme this season, according to Bartczak.
"I told them, do not come into this game thinking we are going to beat them," he said. "They are a completely different team — and it showed."
Soderstrom also hurt the Wrens on the offensive end, scoring 19 of his game-high 25 in the first half.
Wrenshall will face Ely, who beat Bigfork 77-46 earlier in the day to advance, in the Section 7A semifinals at 5:45 p.m. Thursday, March 15, at Hibbing Memorial Arena.