Vikings win holiday tournament
It was a successful weekend for the North Branch girls basketball team, as they recorded a first-place finish at the Little Falls holiday tournament.
The Vikings went up against St. Cloud Apollo in the first matchup on Friday afternoon, taking a 60-16 win.
Sophomore Courtney Selbitschka led North Branch with 13 points, going 4-11 from the field, and tallied four steals. Sophomore Morgen Coleman recorded 12 points while junior Taylor Gazda went 5-12 from the field for 10 points and also earned five rebounds. Seniors Haley Huset and Mikayla Carlson added seven points each.
Head coach Jerome Huselid said the girls did a good job of taking care of business early and maintaining a large lead throughout the game.
“We jumped to a pretty quick lead, put a lot of pressure on them and just did a good job defensively,” Huselid said.
North Branch had a long break until the first-place game the next day, but despite the lag, were able to come out victorious in the title game against Perham.
The Vikings led by just one point, 22-21, at halftime against the Yellowjackets, then outscored Perham 30-18 in the second half with the help of Selbitschka, who again led North Branch in scoring. The sophomore put up 18 points and was 3-3 from beyond the arc with six rebounds. Coleman earned a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds to accompany three steals. Gazda added six points and seven rebounds while sophomore Kalley Hartman earned five points and seven rebounds.
Selbitschka and Huset were both named to the all-tournament team.
“It’s not easy to win a two-day tournament, especially when you don’t play until 5 p.m. the next day,” Huselid said. “We came out a little flat and the girls realized that at the half. They dug down and got the win.”
The head coach added that the first-place honors will give the Vikings some momentum as they head into a big home game against Grand Rapids on Friday night.
The Vikings are 6-1 so far this year while the Thunderhawks sit at 7-2. Grand Rapids knocked off North Branch in the second round of section play the past two years.
Friday’s home game begins at 7:15 p.m. North Branch also travels to Blake on Saturday, Jan. 4, for a 1 p.m. non-conference game.