Prep boys basketball: Rebels run, shoot past Cardinals
Mason Olson scored a game-high 29 points as the Rebels beat the Cardinals 88-55.
CROMWELL — Mason Olson reminded everyone in attendance at the Moose Lake-Willow River basketball game that he’s the Rebels’ quarterback as he slung the ball down the court to his teammates.
In the heart of hoops season, Olson whizzed his way around the Cromwell-Wright gymnasium en route to a game-high 29 points to help the Rebels run past the Cardinals 88-55 in a Polar League contest last Friday, Jan. 24.
In a match-up featuring a pair of impressive small schools, MLWR (14-3) wasted no time in demonstrating their athleticism, mainly from the 3-point line. They connected on 12 of their 32 shots beyond the arc — or 38 percent — and, that’s just an average night.
When asked afterward if there is any shot they don’t like, junior Brady Watrin didn’t hesitate.
“Not really,” he said with a smile.
Watrin (45.5 percent), Ben Dewey (42.5), Phillip Sheetz (41.2), Michael Olson (40.7), Sam Dewey (39.0) and Mason Olson (35.7) are all deadly from deep, and all six sank long-range bombs against the Rebels.
Following Olson, Watrin scored 18 points, while Sheetz, Ben Dewey and Michael Olson all tallied 10, respectively. Their depth was seemingly endless, and floor pace torrid.
“We want as many possessions as we can possibly get,” said MLWR coach Wes Cummins. “When you got 10 guys who can play, it makes it easy. We’ve got a lot of good shooters. Tonight was one of those nights when it went in. We’re tough to beat on nights like this.”
Despite a hard-fought first half by the 10th-ranked Cardinals (12-2), the Rebels led 44-31 at the break and never looked back, exploding on a 16-2 run to open the second in a fury.
To put it in perspective, MLWR’s 88 points was only their fifth highest output this winter. They’ve eclipsed 100 three times already. And, they have nailed 190 3-pointers in 17 games.
“Coach tells us to run, run, run,” Olson said.
“We just couldn’t guard them,” said Cardinals coach Bill Pocernich. “We didn’t have any answers to slow it down tonight. You’ve got to tip your hat to them. They played really well.”
Likewise, Cromwell-Wright has been playing well, even after graduating four starters from last year’s state tournament squad. Senior Gage Zoeller was efficient per usual, scoring 22 points against the Rebels, while Micah Pocernich added 18. The loss snapped a seven-game winning spurt and was the first of the New Year for the Cardinals, who are seeking a return trip to Minneapolis come March.
“If you want to get to the mountain top, you have to go through a valley, and tonight was that,” Bill Pocernich said. “We’re not going to see another team like this unless we qualify for the state tournament.”
That’s what the Rebels, winners of their last six games, have their sights on. A berth in March would be their first state tournament appearance since 2005, and only their second ever.
“We’d like to be the second team to ever do that,” said Cummins.
“That’d mean a lot to us,” added Olson. “We just don’t want to be a football town anymore. We want to make it a basketball and football town.”
Moose Lake-WR 44-44—88
Moose Lake-Willow River — Ben Dewey 10, Duane Broughton 4, Sam Dewey 3, Brady Watrin 18, Phillip Sheetz 10, Mason Olson 29, Michael Olson 10, Carter Johnson 2, Alex Watrin 2. Totals 35 6-8 88.
3-point goals — B. Dewey 2, S. Dewey, Watrin 2, Sheetz 2, Ma. Olson 3, Mi. Olson 2.
Cromwell-Wright — Noah Foster 2, Micah Pocernich 18, Ethan Shelton 3, Nathan Eliason 2, Taye Anderson 5, Gage Zoeller 22, Garrett Zoeller 3. Totals 20 12-18 55.
3-point goals — Pocernich 2, Gar. Zoeller.