HIBBING— An aggressive defense, strong rebounding, and the Grizzlies’ usual offensive prowess provided the keys to advance to the semi-final round of the Section 7A boys basketball tournament …
HIBBING— An aggressive defense, strong rebounding, and the Grizzlies’ usual offensive prowess provided the keys to advance to the semi-final round of the Section 7A boys basketball tournament this past Saturday. North Woods easily outpaced Nashwauk-Keewatin to win 84-40 at Hibbing Memorial Arena.
The Grizzlies were set to face Lakeview Christian Academy on Thursday, with the winner to compete for the Section 7A title on Saturday, March 17. North Woods easily outpaced Lakeview, 85-43, on Feb. 20, in their only contest this season.
Ely and Wrenshall, who have yet to meet on the court this year, were set to face off for the other slot in the championship match.
“It was a great defensive effort for us,” said Grizzlies Head Coach Will Kleppe, in the wake of his team’s win over the Spartans. “We created numerous turnovers and transition opportunities which gave us a comfortable lead at halftime,” he added. “Holding their leading scorer scoreless in the first half was exactly what we needed to do to start the game.”
For the Grizzlies— a team that clearly has the skills to go all the way— it will just come down to execution, and the team has shown remarkable consistency throughout its nearly perfect season. Its single loss came late in the season to Class 2A powerhouse Virginia.
Execution was right on track against the Spartans, as the Grizzlies jumped to a 14-3 lead and kept the defensive pressure on almost the entire game. The Spartans had a couple modest runs, but could never sustain the momentum to climb back into contention.
It was another excellent game for the Grizzlies’ junior guard Cade Goggleye, who poured in a game-high 18 points. But he had plenty of help from senior Tate Olson, who added 16 points, and junior Chase Kleppe, who added 13. Trevor Morrison notched 10 points, Dylan Chiabotti added eight, and TJ Chiabotti tallied seven. Also scoring were Brendan Parson with five points, Darius Goggleye with three, and Isaiah Squires with two.