FIELD TWP—The Grizzlies showed why they’re the top-ranked Class A boys basketball squad in Minnesota here on Friday as they downed the previously unbeaten Timberwolves 87-58. It was a game marked …
FIELD TWP—The Grizzlies showed why they’re the top-ranked Class A boys basketball squad in Minnesota here on Friday as they downed the previously unbeaten Timberwolves 87-58. It was a game marked by exceptional performances, particularly by Grizzlies senior forward Tate Olson, who led all scorers with 33 points, and Ely junior guard Patrick Vanderbeek, who sunk nine three-pointers on his way to 29 points.
“It was a good win against a good section opponent,” said Grizzlies Head Coach Will Kleppe. “Vanderbeek scored at will against us but we did an excellent job of limiting the rest of Ely’s team. Tate, Cade, and Brendan carried us despite some unusual foul trouble for the three of them.”
Both teams came into Friday’s tilt undefeated, and they guarded their perimeters with a vengeance, forcing much of the scoring to the outside. Indeed, Ely sunk 13 from beyond the arc, for 39 of their 58 points. Most of the rest of their scoring came from the foul line, as they sunk 12 of 19 free throws. The Wolves picked up just four two-point field goals on the night, as the Grizzlies largely kept them out of the paint.
Vanderbeek had the hot hand for the Wolves, connecting on nine treys. Carter Gaulke scored nine, five of them on free throws, while Adam McDonald sunk five from the line and added a three for eight points. Junior guard Trevor Mattson added eight points, while Eric Omerza added three.
The Grizzlies’ Olson found more success working inside, but still connected on five treys for nearly half of his total points. Yet Olson had plenty of scoring help, which made the difference for the Grizzlies. Also contributing were senior Brendan Parson, who notched 17 points, including three from outside the arc, and junior guard Cade Goggleye, who tallied 16, including five three-pointers. Tanner Lokken added ten, while Chase Kleppe tallied six, and Isaiah Squires, added five.
The Grizzlies jumped to an early ten-point lead and steadily built their margin through much of the game. Ely managed to close the gap to ten just before half, but the Grizzlies responded with back-to-back treys as time ran out, to take a 36-20 lead into the break.
The Grizzlies padded their lead early in the second half, until Ely mounted its last effort at a rally at the eight-minutes mark. Vanderbeek, for a time, couldn’t miss from the outside and Ely closed to within 11 points. But that was as close as they would get. Olson and Goggleye responded once again with a series of treys, and as the remaining minutes ticked down, it was clear Ely had lost the momentum.
“I thought we competed well at times against North Woods,” said Ely Head Coach Tom McDonald, “but their athleticism got to us on both ends of the floor.” McDonald noted that the Grizzlies inside defense was tough to penetrate. “They pushed us out into areas where we couldn’t generate any offense. And they have too many weapons offensively and we just contain everyone.”
McDonald’s observation was bore out in the final results. While Olson had a big night, the Grizzlies still had four players in double digits. With so many weapons, it’s hard to know who might be able to contain the Grizzlies offense, which has averaged 97 points a game so far this season. “They are number one in the state for a reason,” said McDonald.
With the win, the Grizzlies improved to 5-0, while Ely slipped to 3-1.
The Grizzlies are off until the North Woods Holiday Tournament, set for Dec. 28-30. Ely is set to host Upsala on Dec. 28.