The North Branch boys basketball team fell in both games last week, including one in a white-knuckle triple overtime.
First up, the Vikings hosted and lost 76-62 to Robbinsdale Cooper.
“We can take a lot of positives away from this game,” coach David Anderson said. “But it all came down
to an eight-minute stretch in the second half where we let the game get away from us.”
After a subpar first half, the Vikings turned up the intensity.
“After making a defensive adjustment, we went on a big run and cut the lead down to 10 with about four minutes left. However, we couldn’t quite close the gap and RC held us off down the stretch.”
It was a good game in and out of the paint for the team.
“We had huge performances from Brandon Thauwald inside and Jon Blomquist on the perimeter, as they both chipped in 17 points,” Anderson said.
Slayed by the Red Knights
Last Friday the Vikings hosted the Red Knights and led 33-28 at the half, but Benilde-St. Margaret’s came back to tie it up 58-58 to send the game into overtime.
Both teams fought hard and both scored five points in the first overtime and seven in the second.
Finally, the Red Knights netted one more basket than the Vikings in the third overtime and won the game 77-75.
“Tonight was a great high school basketball game,” Anderson said. “Both teams played their tails off the entire game including all three overtimes; it was a shame either team had to lose.”
Anderson lauded the bench play in the game.
“Our bench gave us huge minutes and really came up big for us down the stretch when we had three of our top players out of the game,” he said.
“Isaac Lewis, Aaron Biederman, Dillon Harms, Brandon Steffensen, Matt Blomquist and Riley Jacobson all came in off the bench and played big minutes when we needed them.”
Scoring specialist Travis Van Elsberg had a big night.
“Travis Van Elsberg gave another great performance, shouldering a ton of the load for us and scoring 36 points,” Anderson said.
The coach was impressed by the effort of the Vikings opponent.
“Give Benilde a lot of credit, they fought hard the whole way and never gave up,” he said.
Even though they lost, Anderson said the effort was there and he is proud of his team.
“Our guys fought even harder and I couldn’t be prouder of how far they have come this year,” he said. It would have been really great to come out of tonight with the victory, but even though we lost, it still shouldn’t take anything away from the incredible effort they gave tonight.”
The North Branch boys basketball team is tied for seventh in the North Suburban Conference with a 1-3 conference and 2-9 overall record. The Vikings will travel to Columbia Heights to face the No. 8 state-ranked Hylanders (8-3) at 7:15 p.m. Jan. 18, before hosting the St. Louis Park Orioles (10-3) at 7:15 p.m. Jan. 22.