NB boys fall in semis

Vikings record most season wins since 2006-07

After beating Chisago Lakes on the road in overtime two weeks ago, the North Branch boys basketball team fell to top-seeded Cloquet last Wednesday, 66-40.

While the Vikings put together a high-scoring 70-point effort against the Wildcats, head coach David Anderson said his boys struggled against a tricky two-three zone defense played by Cloquet.

“Everything went wrong,” Anderson said. “They ran a defense they hadn’t run all year, a two-three, but did a couple of things different that really kept the ball away from Travis (Van Elsberg) — it ended up stifling us.”

By halftime, the Vikings trailed 26-11.

“We tried to change the pace in the second half, play more up-tempo and trap them on defense,” Anderson said. “But it seemed like every time we had a good trap set and almost got the steal, they would get through and score on us.”

The Lumberjacks stomped out any chance of a comeback early on, and with eight minutes left, Anderson rotated his six senior Vikings, giving them “one last chance to play together as a group.”

The team’s Van Elsberg, Dillon Harms, Dylan Dahle, Brandon Thauwald, Aaron Biederman and Riley Jacobson are in the 2014 graduating class.

“My experience with these seniors lets me know they will leave a lasting legacy and influence for years to come,” Anderson said.

Overall, North Branch went 10-17 this year, its first season in the Mississippi 8 Conference and most wins in a season since 2006-07 when the Vikings went 11-17.

“It was good,” Anderson said. “Going in we had goals for more wins, but there weren’t many games that weren’t close or we weren’t competitive. It was a pretty successful year in our program history.”


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