NB boys split close games at tournament

By Victoria Dahlin—

Though with different outcomes, both basketball games played by North Branch in the South St. Paul Holiday Tournament Dec. 27-28 were close and exciting.

In the first game against Park of Cottage Grove, the Vikings were down 32-20 at the half, but then came out of the locker room and took control. The team outscored the Wolfpack by 12 points and prevailed, to earn a 74-69 victory.

“Today’s game was a great win for our guys,” said Coach David Anderson. “Tom Kinsella shot extremely well and stepped up as a leader on the court and Travis VanElsberg did an excellent job leading the team and making big shots when we needed them most. However, this wasn’t a two player win, it was an entire team win. We had great contributions that don’t show up on the stat line.

“Tyler Knobbe went after every board and played great defense all night. Riley Jacobson and Jon Blomquist stepped up big. Isaac Lewis and Brandon Thauwald did an excellent job stopping Park from getting post entries, which was a real key to our victory. And Cody Knobbe and Matt Blomquist, a freshman, also stepped up and gave us big minutes off the bench. Our guys fought extremely hard and came back against a tough opponent,” Anderson noted.

Comeback falls short

The second match up was South St. Paul in another tough, close game. North Branch was down 29-23 at the half, but this time could not come back for a win against the extremely physical Packers, and fell 58-55.

“Before the game we talked with our guys about how big and physical this team would be, and to our guys’ credit they never backed down,” said Coach Anderson. “We played very tough inside and limited the amount of interior touches SSP had in the game. Unfortunately, we didn’t shoot quite as well as we had hoped to and ended up falling just short.

“We had a great performance from Colin Ehrnriter who came off the bench and sparked us with 10 points. Aaron Biederman also played really well off the bench for us. South St. Paul really focused on trying to shut down Travis, and harassed him the whole game as he brought the ball up the floor. However, he did a great job of responding to the pressure and getting us started on offense. Tom Kinsella also played big on the perimeter and really helped us out. Overall we were very proud of the effort our guys gave and are optimistic heading into our tough NSC schedule,” added Anderson.

Scoring

NB vs. Cottage Grove

Tom Kinsella 24

Travis VanElsberg 23

Tyler Knobbe 10

Jon Blomquist 6

Isaac Lewis 4

Cody Knobbe 4

Brandon Thauwald 2

Riley Jacobson 1

NB vs. South St. Paul

Tom Kinsella 13

Colin Ehrnriter 10

Travis VanElsberg 8

Aaron Biederman 6

Riley Jacobson 5

Brandon Thauwald 4

Jon Blomquist 4

Tyler Knobbe 3

Cody Knobbe 2

The North Branch boys basketball team has a 2-5 overall record. The team will travel to St. Francis to face the Fighting Saints (4-4 at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6 before traveling to Duluth Denfeld to face the Hunters (5-2). The Vikings will then host the Chisago Lakes Area Wildcats (2-6) at 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10 with the Vikettes dance team scheduled to perform, followed by the North Branch girls basketball team hosting Chisago Lakes Area at 7:15 p.m.

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