DEER RIVER-The North Woods boys came out of gates fast last Friday at Deer River, but a late first half collapse gave the Warriors the cushion they needed to run away with an easy 93-74 win.The …
DEER RIVER-The North Woods boys came out of gates fast last Friday at Deer River, but a late first half collapse gave the Warriors the cushion they needed to run away with an easy 93-74 win.
The Grizzlies drew first blood on a putback shot by Kaden Ratai and went up 5-0 when Jonah Burnett dropped in a triple from the top of the key. Burnett connected again from three-point land to give North Woods a 20-12 lead, and a basket by Louie Panichi with just under nine minutes to play in the half kept the margin at eight, 28-20.
But then the red-hot Grizzlies went ice cold as Deer River surged. The Warriors came back to tie at 28-28, and after Brenden Chiabotti scored in the lane to regain the lead, Deer River sank a long triple to go up 31-30 with 4:57 left before the half. The Warriors never trailed again. Chiabotti’s basket was the only field goal the Grizzlies made in the final eight minutes of the half, and Deer River kept right on rolling, outscoring North Woods 25-5 in that stretch to head into halftime firmly in control 47-33.
The North Woods drought continued in the second half with the Grizzlies going scoreless in their first eight possessions as Deer River built the lead to 55-33, forcing North Woods Head Coach Andrew Jugovich to call a time out. The Grizzlies showed brief signs of life with a deuce by Chiabotti, a pair of Burnett buckets, and a Chiabotti triple to cut the deficit to 58-42, but went flat again as the Warriors put together an 18-4 run to go up by 30, 76-46, with just under eight minutes to play. The Grizzlies made up some ground down the stretch, but didn’t have enough firepower or defense to make a big dent in the Warriors’ lead, finally succumbing by 19, 93-74.
Deer River put up 93 shots in the game while the Grizzlies had just 73 attempts, due in no small part to the 21 turnovers committed by North Woods. The Grizzlies have counted on scoring off turnovers in many of their wins this season, but Deer River flipped the script with a 22-8 advantage in that category.
Burnett led North Woods in scoring with 26 points, followed by Chiabotti with 21 and Ratai with 13.
Deer River claimed the No. 1 seed in the Section 7A tournament that started this week. North Woods, 16-10, slotted in as the No. 7 seed and was scheduled to face No. 10 Littlefork-Big Falls at home on Thursday. North Woods won their regular season matchup 115-68. A win on Thursday would likely set up a Saturday quarterfinal contest against No. 2 seed Cherry at Duluth Denfeld at 4 p.m.