Win or lose, our local student athletes give it their all on game/match day. Following is a recap of how our schools’ wrestling, basketball and hockey teams did in their respective contests last week.
Viking wrestlers host, win triangular
By Victoria Dahlin
After winning its own triangular last Thursday, the Viking wrestlers took eighth out of 16 teams at the Second Annual Foley Tom Keating Memorial Tournament.
The Vikings team crushed Benilde-St. Margaret’s 48-21 and defeated Hinckley-Finlayson/Pine City/East Central 37-34 to earn the win at home, while the Jaguars won over the Red Knights to place second.
“This was a very nice win for our team,” said Coach Tony Aho. “Mitch Anderson is working very hard and is starting to show the potential that he has. Zack Sundly is back in the line-up and will help us a lot down the stretch. Jake Pilz in looking like he is going to start to get it going again. Sistrunk, Senne, Johnson and Pilz led us in a great rally, and then Mitch Anderson and Tristan LaBelle looked as they had sealed it for us.
“After Hinckley made it close, Seamus Hunter saved us again with a huge win. He looks as though he will fit in with the long line of great heavyweights in North Branch history. We would like to thank the parents of these great kids for coming out on parent’s night; and also the fans, who really make home matches an exciting event.”
Last Saturday the Vikings accumulated 96 points to take eighth place, ahead of Foley JV with 87 and behind Big Lake with 102 points. Foley won the tournament with 303 team points.
Patrick Mork got his first loss in a match this season and took second. Mork is ranked fifth in the state in Class AA by “The Guillotine.” Reid Johnson, Zack Sundly, Jordan Mold and Seamus Hunter all placed fourth, while Aaron Sistrunk and Eric Bergstrom both finished sixth.
“Although we have some substantial injury problems right now, the guys we have out there are really working hard,” Coach Aho explained. “Pat Mork experienced his first loss of the year, which is sort of a relief. Pat was starting to get cautious as his win streak was going, and now he is very motivated to get that streak going again. When he wrestles his own style he can beat anyone at his weight class. The guys are showing spurts of excellence and just need to sustain their confidence from the first round to the last.”
NB Triangular winning wrestlers (by weight)
120 Aaron Senne by forfeit; 126 Reid Johnson by pin 3:48; 132 Jake Pilz by pin 4:51; 152 Mitch Anderson by decision 3-2; 160 Patrick Mork by pin 1:33; 170 Tristan LaBelleby by decision 10-3; 182 Zack Sundly by pin 5:59; 220 Eric Bergstrom by pin 0:30; 285 Seamus Hunter by pin 0:51
vs. Hinckley-Finlayson/Pine City/East Central
113 Aaron Sistrunk by pin 1:40; 120 Aaron Senne by pin 1:44; 126 Reid Johnson by pin 4:42; 132 Jake Pilz by decision 7-6; 152 Mitch Anderson by decision 4-2; 160 Tristan LaBelle by pin 4:18; 170 Patrick Mork by major decision 18-8; 285 Seamus Hunter by decision 5-1
The North Branch wrestling team will travel to Columbia Heights to face the Hylanders at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12 before competing in a tournament at Mounds View High School at 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 14.
RC boys basketball splits two games
By Victoria Dahlin
After a long Christmas break, the Tigers boys basketball team lost in its first game, but got the win in its second game played last week.
Rush City hosted Moose Lake-Willow River Jan. 3 and was beat 74-51.
“I think we were a little rusty coming out of Christmas break,” said Coach Jeremy Albright. “We worked pretty hard, but struggled offensively, especially shooting.”
Last Thursday the team traveled to beat Pine City 69-44.
“The boys definitely came out fired up for this one,” said Coach Albright. “I thought we did a great job defensively shutting down their leading scorer. He ended up with one point. We were able to force Pine City into 26 turnovers. That is a credit to how hard the boys were playing defense. I’m looking forward to the team stepping up to the challenges that they will face.”
The Tigers have a 3-5 overall and 3-1 Great River Conference record. The boys will host the #1 state-ranked Braham Bombers (10-1 record) at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17.
PC/RC boys hockey update
The Pine City/Rush City boys hockey team traveled and lost to the Princeton Tigers 15-3 on Jan. 3 before traveling and falling two days later to the Becker/Big Lake Eagles 8-1. The team then hosted and lost 6-5 to the Two Harbors Agates on Jan. 7.
The Dragons have a 1-10-1 overall and 0-3 Two Rivers Conference record. The boys will host the Legacy Christian Academy Lions (6-5-2 record) at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13.
Vikings hoops lose three
It was a disappointing week for the Vikings boys basketball team as it added three losses to its record last week.
North Branch first hosted and lost to Robbinsdale Cooper 74-40 on Jan. 3. On Friday, the boys experienced defeat again, this time to St. Francis in a 68-55 road game. The week ended on Saturday when the Vikings soundly lost 86-35 in a road game against Duluth Denfeld.
NB vs. Robbinsdale Cooper (Vikings scoring)
Tom Kinsella, 13; Travis VanElsberg, 6; Aaron Biederman, 6; Isaac Lewis, 4; Brandon Thauwald, 4; Jon Blomquist, 4; Riley Jacobson, 4; Tyler Knobbe, 3; Colin Ehrnriter, 2; Dillion Harms, 2
@ St. Francis
Tom Kinsella, 25; Travis VanElsberg, 12; Colin Ehrnriter, 7; Tyler Knobbe, 6; Brandon Thauwald, 3; Isaac Lewis, 2
@ Duluth Denfeld
Tom Kinsella, 8; Riley Jacobson, 8; Tyler Knobbe, 7; Isaac Lewis, 4; Jon Blomquist, 3; Colin Ehrnriter, 2; Brandon Thauwald, 2
The team has a 2-8 overall and 0-2 North Suburban Conference record. The Vikings will host the 5-4 Totino-Grace Eagles at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13 before hosting Fridley (6-4) at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17.
NB boys hockey update
The North Branch boys hockey team traveled to Spring Lake Park and lost to the Panthers 9-1, Jan. 3, before hosting and losing 10-3 to the Mora/Hinckley-Finlayson Mustangs last Saturday.
The Vikings have a 3-10 overall and 1-2 Two Rivers Conference record. The boys will host the WSFLG (Webster, Siren, Frederic, Luck, Grantsburg) Blizzard (10-2 record) at Chisago Lakes Ice Arena in Lindstrom at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14.
SF/NB girls hockey update
The St. Francis/North Branch girls hockey team — with Justine Mendez, Mallory Olson and Erynn Downey, all from North Branch — traveled to Isanti and tied 2-2 with the Cambridge-Isanti/Mora/Pine City Bluejackets on Friday, Jan. 6. The team then traveled to Fridley on Saturday and lost 4-1 to the Totino-Grace Eagles.
The Fighting Saints have a 2-14-1 overall and 0-4 North Suburban Conference record. The girls will travel to St. Louis Park Recreation Center to face the Orioles (3-13-1 record) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, before hosting the #11 state-ranked Irondale Knights (15-2) at East Bethel Ice Arena at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13. The team will then travel to Bloomington Ice Garden to face the Bloomington Kennedy Eagles (4-12-2) at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17.