The North Branch boys basketball team endured a rough regular season, finishing 5-21 after closing their schedule with two Mississippi 8 defeats, 70-41 to Cambridge-Isanti on Feb. 28 and 74-40 to Chisago Lakes on March 3.
The Vikings were unable to win any of their conference games in 2016-17, going 0-13. North Branch earned nonconference wins over Lakeview Christian, Community of Peace, Cannon Falls, Hermantown and Hibbing.
The Vikings’ prize for a difficult season is the No. 8 seed in the Section 7AAA playoffs and a date with No. 1 Grand Rapids up north on March 8. The Thunderhawks exactly mirrored the Vikings’ record, going 21-5 on the year.
If the Vikings can pull an upset against Grand Rapids, they’ll play in a semifinal game at the Hibbing Memorial Building on March 10 at 6 p.m. The opposition would be provided by either Hermantown or Cloquet.
In unrelated basketball action, the North Branch gym will host the semifinals (March 15) and final (March 17) of the Section 7AAAA tournament, which will feature some of North Branch’s larger M8 rivals.