Less than a week after beating Princeton for their ninth win of the season, the North Branch boys basketball team ended their season with an 88-77 loss to the Tigers. But, at least they got a chance to improve their standing in the section. Because of the major snowstorm on Thursday, February 20, the Wildcats final game of the season against Big Lake was cancelled and won’t be made up. That leaves the bracket for Section 7AAA set, and the Chisago County rivals will be playing each other for a third time this year.
The Wildcats drew the fourth seed with a 9-15 record while North Branch drew the fifth seed with a 9-16 record. The two teams split their match ups during the regular season. The teams will play in Chisago Lakes on Friday, February 28 at 7 p.m. The winner will move on to play the winner of top-seeded Cloquet and eighth-seeded Hibbing. The Lumberjacks of Cloquet are 21-4 on the season and have a tough squad while the Bluejackets were 9-15 playing a small-school schedule. Whichever team advances between North Branch and Chisago Lakes will play the Hibbing/Cloquet winner on Tuesday, March 4 at 6 p.m. in Hibbing. In the upper half of the bracket, Grand Rapids drew the second seed while Hermantown drew the third seed. Princeton got the sixth seed while Duluth Denfeld represents the seventh seed.