Last week the Viking boys basketball team finished its regular season with losses to conference rivals St. Francis and Totino-Grace.
First up, North Branch hosted the Fighting Saints on Wednesday night and put up a good fight going into the half with the score knotted at 29. But St. Francis came back to outscore the Vikings in the second half and went away with a 68-50 win.
“We played a really good first half on the defensive end of the floor and stifled St Francis for a good portion of the first half,” coach David Anderson pointed out. “Our guys executed very well and showed a great deal of patience on the offensive end of the floor. Inside our three big men, Brandon Thauwald, Brandon Steffensen and Isaac Lewis, all played great interior defense on the much bigger St. Francis post players, which was really a key for us in the game.”
Coach added, “However, in the second half we went cold from the field and St. Francis really did a good job pounding the ball inside and getting closer shot opportunities. We couldn’t quite keep up with their size, and they ended up pulling away down the stretch.”
Last Friday Totino-Grace came to town and battled North Branch to leave the Vikings with a 86-67 loss.
“We picked the wrong night to play Totino-Grace,” noted Anderson. “They came out shooting the ball extremely well hitting eight of their first 12 three-point attempts. Our guys continued to play hard, even though we were down big early. It did not feel like we were down as many points as we were because we were actually playing pretty well on both ends of the floor. The difference was just that Totino’s shots were going in and ours were not.”
Continued Anderson, “We came out in the second half and played pretty well again. Travis had another big game and showed why he is deserving of First Team All-Conference honors. Brandon Thauwald, Jon Blomquist and Isaac Lewis all played big inside and kept Totino from getting easy lay-ups or put-backs. We are now looking forward to our first round of sections.”
The North Branch boys basketball team finished the regular season 11th in the North Suburban Conference with a 1-15 conference record and now has a 4-22 overall record. The No. 7 section seeded Vikings will travel to Grand Rapids to face the No. 2 section seeded Thunderhawks in the Section 7AAA quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Friday, March 5. The winner of that game will face the winner of the No. 3 seed Chisago Lakes Area vs. No. 6 seed Duluth Denfeld game in the section semifinals at Duluth East High School at 7:45 p.m. Wednesday, March 13.