DULUTH— The sixth-seeded Timberwolves’ playoff hopes came to a convincing end here last Saturday as the Northland Eagles poured in 21 three-pointers enroute to a 93-59 win. “We …
DULUTH— The sixth-seeded Timberwolves’ playoff hopes came to a convincing end here last Saturday as the Northland Eagles poured in 21 three-pointers enroute to a 93-59 win. “We really ran into a buzzsaw,” said Ely Head Coach Tom McDonald. “I don’t remember any team shooting that well in any game I have coached in my career. There was very little we could do to stop it.”
Ely’s defense was rendered largely useless as Northland players didn’t need to work the ball inside. Time after time, they approached Ely’s perimeter and simply launched another trey before the Wolves could even respond. It was a deadly assault, the kind that few teams could overcome.
“We actually didn’t play too poorly,” said McDonald. “We had only seven turnovers on the day and our shooting wasn’t terrible. They just shot the ball that well. It was a bad ending to a very nice season for us,” said McDonald.
Senior standout Joey Bianco finished his high school career with 28 points on the night along with eight assists. Senior Jason Kerntz had a good night as well, adding 12 points.
Saturday’s loss to Northland came on the heels of Ely’s 66-39 win over Bigfork last Thursday night. Playing on their home hardwood, Ely took control of the game from the beginning and never let up. “Jumping out to a big lead was huge for us,” said McDonald. “I thought we really played well defensively and we shot the ball well at times and even when Bigfork tried to make a run against us I thought we held our composure and hit some big shots.”
The Wolves put the Huskies behind the eight ball from the beginning and built a 41-18 lead by the half. While Bigfork kept it closer in the second half, thanks to better success from beyond the arc, the Wolves only needed to keep pace. That they did, outscoring the Huskies 25-21in the frame.
Bianco notched a double-double in the contest, with 25 points and ten assists. Freshman Jack Davies tallied 21 points and senior Erron Anderson posted eight rebounds.
The Wolves finished their season at 20-8, a mark they’ll struggle to surpass next year. “We have five seniors and it will be tough to replace them,” said McDonald. Among them is Bianco, the team’s leading scorer, and Anderson, the team’s leading rebounder. “The bulk of our scoring and rebounding will be gone and we will have to have some development of some players in the off-season if we will be able to have some success next year.” McDonald notes that a few younger players, most notably Davies and sophomore Caid Chittum, have plenty of varsity experience, while junior Gavin Marshall put in some varsity time as well. “Everyone else will be untested at the varsity level,” said McDonald.