COLERAINE— A slow start didn’t keep Ely from easily outpacing Bigfork in their Section 7A quarterfinal contest on Saturday. Ely found its stride midway through the first half and cruised to a …
COLERAINE— A slow start didn’t keep Ely from easily outpacing Bigfork in their Section 7A quarterfinal contest on Saturday. Ely found its stride midway through the first half and cruised to a 77-48 victory.
“We struggled shooting a bit in the first part of the game,” said Ely Head Coach Tom McDonald. “We made a big run to push us up by 15 at half.”
That run was fueled by junior Pat Vanderbeek who poured in 19 points in the first half as the Huskies couldn’t find a way to contain him.
The Wolves continued the hot shooting in the second half but defense was the ultimately the key to their success over the Huskies this year. Ely held a good scoring Bigfork team to just 45 and 48 points in their two meetings this year. Only one other team held them to fewer points in a game this season.
“We played great defense against Bigfork,” said McDonald. “I think Trevor Mattson and Eric Omerza did a terrific job of playing defense on the Cook brothers in the second half and limited what they got offensively.”
For the game, Pat Vanderbeek led the way, with 27 points. Carter Gaulke notched a double-double, with14 points and ten rebounds, along with seven assists. Trevor Mattson notched 14 points and Eric Omerza added 13. Blaise Lah once again was the boards leader with 12.
The Wolves have won their first two playoff games by large margins and find themselves playing very good team defense. They were set to face a major challenge Thursday night after the Timberjay’s weekly presstime, as they were scheduled to take on 25-2 Wrenshall in the semi-final round. A win would put them in the Section 7A championship, set for 7 p.m., on Saturday, March 17, in Hibbing. They would face the winner of Thursday night’s tilt between North Woods and Lakeview Christian Academy.
Ely 74, MI-B 44
Ely opened the section 7 boys basketball playoffs on Wednesday, March 7, against Mt. Iron-Buhl. This was the third meeting of the season for the two teams and the Rangers were hoping for an upset. The Wolves had other plans and shook off a slow start to win big 74-44.
“It was a nice win against a quality opponent,” said Coach McDonald. “It was nice to get that first round win after losing in this round our last two years.”
The number two-seeded Wolves didn’t shoot well to start but let their defense control the game.
“We struggled a bit in the first half but played well defensively to have a 30-22 lead at the half,” added McDonald. “We came out and shot the ball well early in the second half and clamped down on defense even more which led to many defensive rebounds for us.”
For Ely senior Carter Gaulke had his first career triple-double with 28 points, 12 assists, and ten rebounds. Pat Vanderbeek added 20 points while Blaise Lah had a team high seven rebounds.