DEER RIVER - Whether it wanted it or not, North Woods received one of its toughest tests so far in Friday's regular season finale, overtaking host Deer River in the closing moments for a thrilling …
DEER RIVER - Whether it wanted it or not, North Woods received one of its toughest tests so far in Friday's regular season finale, overtaking host Deer River in the closing moments for a thrilling 71-67 victory.
Trailing 67-66, Tate Olson knocked down a clutch three-point shot with 10 seconds remaining to give the Grizzlies a 69-67 lead.
Following an empty Deer River possession, Cade Goggleye drained a pair of free throws to make it a two-possession differential and ice the win for the Grizzlies.
"We played well enough in stretches to get the win," North Woods head coach Will Kleppe said. "It was good to see the team rise to the challenge of overcoming a deficit late in the game. It's the character of this team that has gotten the job done at the end of the season."
Goggleye finished the night with 26 points, hitting all 10 of his free-throw attempts, while also distributing nine assists and recording five steals.
Chase Kleppe followed with 15 points and six rebounds, Olson netted 14 points and Brendan Parson scored 12.
George Bibeau pulled down a team-high nine rebounds.
Now, it is on to the playoffs for the Grizzlies, who went 25-1 in the regular season.
"We know as tournaments begin that we need to focus on one game at a time, which is what we've done all year," Kleppe said. "It was a rewarding regular season and we feel well prepared for section playoffs."
The Grizzlies enter the Section 7A tournament as the top seed in their sub-section, and were scheduled to take on eighth-seeded Northeast Range on Wednesday.
The winner of that game plays on Saturday in Duluth versus the winner between fourth-seeded Cherry and fifth-seeded Ely.
The semifinals are on Tuesday and the championship game is on Friday, March 17, both in Duluth.