|3/7/2014 11:47:00 AM|
Vikings knock out Wildcats
by JEFF NORTON
There wasn’t much doubt that a third game between North Branch and Chisago Lakes in boys basketball would produce an overtime game. The two teams had already split their regular season meetings, and they always play a fierce, close contest. The extra basketball was just a treat for those in attendance in Chisago Lakes on Friday, February 28. The game, which kicked off the Section 7AAA tournament, was led early by North Branch, who got big contributions from seniors Travis VanElsberg and Dillon Harms. Chisago Lakes was able to keep pace with the up-and-down attack of North Branch with certified sniper Mitch Berg, who hit over 160 threes in his career coming into the game.
Berg refused to let Chisago Lakes get down by much, hitting five of his six three pointers in the first half. In the second half, the dogfight continued with Chisago Lakes getting the upperhand at times, but North Branch sticking with them, hitting shots when the shots didn’t seem like they would go in. The game eventually moved into bonus basketball, and there, North Branch barely stayed ahead, outscoring the Wildcats by two, and winning 70-68. Berg led all scorers with 22 points, but VanElsberg and Harms combined for 40 points and six assists, forming a lethal backcourt. The difference in the game came down to free throws. Chisago Lakes only attempted 13, making nine, as they settled for more jump shots, while North Branch took 22 free throws, making 16 of them. The Vikes ended up losing 66-40 to Cloquet in the semi-finals.
Although the season wasn’t on the line like it was in the boys game, the Lady ‘Cats took care of business in their game against North Branch. They fell behind early against the energetic North Branch defense, but their size and talent eventually overtook the matchup as they outscored NB by 17 in the second half. Three Wildcats had double-doubles -- Bryanna Fernstrom with 22 points and 14 rebounds, Carmen Backes with 21 and 11 and Sarah Greene with 14 points and 12 boards. Courtney Selbitschka led the Vikings with 18 points and seven rebounds.