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Win some, lose some

Grizzlies on a roller coaster in recent games

David Colburn
Posted 1/18/23

FIELD TWP- It’s been a run of feast or famine on the basketball court for the North Woods girls in their past three games, trounced by Mt. Iron-Buhl and South Ridge but running roughshod over …

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Win some, lose some

Grizzlies on a roller coaster in recent games

Posted

FIELD TWP- It’s been a run of feast or famine on the basketball court for the North Woods girls in their past three games, trounced by Mt. Iron-Buhl and South Ridge but running roughshod over Littlefork-Big Falls.
The Grizzlies were coming off a dominating 89-16 win at Littlefork-Big Falls as they hit the road Tuesday for a tilt against South Ridge, hoping the momentum from that big win would carry over into the contest against the Panthers.
The Grizzlies went up 7-5 on a three by Tatum Barto, but then hit a dry spell as the Panthers reeled off 12 unanswered points to grab a 17-7 lead. Another three by Helen Koch at the 7:45 mark helped North Woods keep pace at 25-16, but the Panthers responded with a 15-4 run to take a 40-20 lead. North Woods trailed 45-26 at the half. North Woods was more competitive in the second half but didn’t have the firepower to make a dent in the Panthers’ lead and lost 87-59.
Koch led the Grizzlies in scoring with 18, and Hannah Kinsey knocked down 14.
Littlefork-Big Falls put up little resistance against the taller, stronger, and faster Grizzlies on Monday. Stymied by the Grizzlies withering full court pressure that forced turnover after turnover, the Vikings gave up 24 points to the visitors before scoring their first basket. Kinsey was locked in on her mid-range jumpers, scoring 22 of her team-leading 30 points in the first half. Koch drained three trifectas in the period as the Grizzlies led 56-8 at the half. There was little drop off to the Grizzlies performance as Head Coach Liz Cheney substituted freely in the second half, with the running clock the only thing keeping North Woods from threatening the century mark in the 89-16 beatdown.
Nine players for North Woods scored, with Koch the other player in double figures with 19.
It was a different story for the Grizzlies in a Jan. 12 home tilt against MIB. The tradition-rich Rangers have been to every state tournament played since 2011 and topped the Grizzlies 102-46 last year, so North Woods knew the enormity of the challenge going in.
The Grizzlies hoped to capitalize on a size advantage down low with Kinsey and River Cheney, but the Rangers tossed a wrench in that plan early with strong pressure defense and hitting the boards hard.
Buckets by Kinsey and Talise Goodsky kept the Grizzlies in the game early, trailing 5-4, but then the Rangers turned up the heat, forcing four Grizzlies turnovers that they turned into scores.
Speed was the name of the game for the Rangers, who generated basket after basket on fast breaks off North Woods turnovers or missed shots. Eight minutes into the game the Grizzlies were already down by 19, 29-10. Passing lanes that appeared open for the Grizzlies suddenly disappeared as the Rangers stepped in to swipe the ball and race downcourt for more scores. MIB showed why they will be a contender for another sectional championship by piling up a 45-point lead at the half, 65-20.
The Grizzlies didn’t back off their intensity in the second half, and fared better when the MIB starters headed to the bench at the 11-minute mark. North Woods played the second half even, 31-31, and wound up on the short end of the 96-51 score. Kinsey led North Woods with 16 points and Cheney scored 14. MIB junior Jordan Zubich, who already has eclipsed the 2,000-point plateau for her career, led all scorers with 28.
Coach Cheney said the fast pace of the first half worked against her squad.
“What was disappointing in the first half was that we got tired, and everything we prepared for we started making mistakes,” she said. “We can’t do that when we play MIB. We don’t have the ball handlers that MIB has. They instantly hassled our ball handlers and that kept us from getting the ball into our bigs.”
The Grizzlies, with a record of 6-8 after Tuesday’s loss, were scheduled to play Nashwauk-Keewatin at home on Friday, then have a short break before traveling to Red Lake next Thursday.

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