FIELD TWP- The North Woods girls donned their home blues for a Saturday tilt against perennial powerhouse Mt. Iron-Buhl, and they were singing the blues after the Rangers ran roughshod over them in a …
FIELD TWP- The North Woods girls donned their home blues for a Saturday tilt against perennial powerhouse Mt. Iron-Buhl, and they were singing the blues after the Rangers ran roughshod over them in a 104-30 blowout.
While the Grizzlies were coming off a 77-52 win against Northeast Range, the Rangers were smarting from a 69-57 loss to Class AA Roseau and eager to get back on a winning track.
At the outset, the Grizzlies looked like they might make a game out of it. Hannah Kinsey hit the game’s first basket for a 2-0 lead, and after two MIB buckets a three-pointer by Helen Koch gave North Woods a 5-4 lead. Five minutes into the game, the Grizzlies looked sharp and locked in as a free throw from Madison Spears knotted the score at 6-6.
And then the wheels fell off the bus.
Seven quick MIB points caused North Woods Head Coach Liz Cheney to take a time out, and then the Rangers reeled off seven more unanswered points. The 14-0 jump start was just what the Rangers’ scoring engine needed to roar into life, and by halftime the Grizzlies were well in the rear view mirror, trailing 58-19. MIB opened the second half with a blistering 23-0 run before Aleesia Geshick hit North Woods’ first bucket of the half. The pace for the Rangers slowed due to liberal substitutions and a running clock, but MIB put four players in high double-figure scoring as they completed the 104-30 rout.
“Our gas tanks ran out of gas, our lungs ran out of air, we just kind of pooped out really, really fast,” Cheney said. “That was probably the fastest pace and most intense game that we’ve come up against so far this year. And we knew it was going to be that way.”
The Grizzlies played without injured guard and floor leader Madi Dantes, which clearly posed a problem against MIB’s swarming pressure defense, but her presence may have done little to alter the outcome. Cheney said she was pleased with how Helen Koch stepped up.
“Madi and Helen are great together,” Cheney said. “They complement each other in the skills and gifts that they bring to the team, so we really miss Madi.”
Kinsey and Spears each score nine points for the Grizzlies.
Monday brought an opportunity to bounce back against a more evenly-matched opponent in Floodwood, but once again the Grizzlies foundered after a solid start, trailing 33-20 at the half and losing 56-36.
Cheney said she thought the Grizzlies were going to have a “great game” after seeing how the team responded in the opening minutes.
“Then after those first four or five minutes we just flattened out and our energy tanked,” Cheney said.
North Woods had an edge in height, but found it difficult to take advantage of it, Cheney said.
“We just really struggled with our inside game,” she said.
One player did stand out down low for the Grizzlies. Spears, the only one in double figures, scored 19 of the team’s 36 points.
North Woods will try to get back on a winning track in a Monday, March 8 road contest against Cherry.