Vikings basketball starts with cliffhanger

The North Branch boys basketball team last week traveled to their neighbors to the north, Rush City, where both teams began the 2012-13 season with a friendly scrimmage. Photo by Victoria Dahlin

The North Branch boys basketball team last week traveled to their neighbors to the north, Rush City, where both teams began the 2012-13 season with a friendly scrimmage. Photo by Victoria Dahlin

After a scrimmage last week in Rush City, the North Branch boys basketball team traveled south to Metro Tech Career Academy in its first game of the 2012-13 season and lost in overtime.

The score was 31-31 when the teams went into the locker room at the half and 42-42 after battling it out during the second half.

The Vikings were down 6-7 with two minutes left in overtime when Travis VanElsberg hit an unbelievable jump shot. However, with less then two seconds left, the Warriors hit a three pointer.

VanElsberg also fouled out and joined Cody Knobbe, who had fouled out earlier, on the North Branch bench. With the top two starting guards off the court, the Vikings couldn’t battle back and ended up with a 87-79 loss.

VanElsberg scored 33 points, Brandon Thauwald 16, Knobbe 14, Matt Blomquist seven, Isaac Lewis six, Dillon Harms 2 and Jon Blomquist scored one point.

“It would have been nice to start the season with a win,” said coach David Anderson. “But in spite of the loss we are feeling very optimistic after our first game. Metro Tech is a very good team, and I would not be surprised if they were one of the favorites in 1A this season.

“Our guys played extremely well and really executed very well down the stretch. It’s hard to describe how much Travis Van Elsberg has improved his game, and to score 33 points on a night when he didn’t even play near his best is a testament to his offensive skills. Cody Knobbe and Brandon Thauwald were also very key for us, helping to take some of the scoring load off of Travis.

“We had really good contributions from everyone, specifically Matt Blomquist, Jon Blomquist and Isaac Lewis. Jon and Issac really stepped up as leaders, and even though they didn’t light up the score boards they contributed in a lot of other ways that really helped the team out. We also saw good minutes from several other players; Aaron Biederman, Brandon Steffensen, Riley Jacobson and Dylan Dahle all contributed for us.

“Overall we are very optimistic about our season going forward and hope to keep improving every week throughout the year,” Anderson explained.

The North Branch boys basketball team will travel to Concordia Academy High School to face the Academy-Roseville Beacons at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, before traveling to Simley to face the Spartans at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11.

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