Scheduling a small school early on got North Branch an early win last year. This year, it didn’t help them get that first ‘W’ of the season any earlier. The Vikings lost to Metro Tech Career Academy 87-79 in overtime last week despite 33 points from junior guard Travis VanElsberg and 30 combined points from Cody Knobbe and Brandon Thauwald. Despite Metro Tech’s small school stature and only 142 enrollment, they are taking on a tough schedule this year with Minnetonka, Wayzata, and St. Paul Johnson all on tap, so they aren’t a pushover school. North Branch and Metro Tech were knotted almost all the way through. It was 31-31 at the half and 73-73 after the final buzzer. After being down by six with only a few minutes remaining, North Branch stormed back to tie it and only did so on an unbelievable jump shot by VanElsberg with only two ticks left on the clock. In extra time, the charter school was able to pull away and win by eight points after both VanElsberg and Knobbe fouled out. “It would have been nice to start the season with a win, but in spite of the loss we are feeling very optimistic after our first game,” Head Coach David Anderson said. “Metro Tech is a very good team and I would not be surprised if they were one of the favorites in 1A this season.” Despite the loss, Anderson saw plenty of positives in the game and is still excited for the season. “It's hard to described how much Travis VanElsberg has improved his game, to score 33 points on a night when he didn't even play near his best is a testament to his offensive skills,” Anderson gushed. “Cody Knobbe and Brandon Thauwald were also very key for us, helping to take some of the scoring load off of Travis. We had really good contributions from everyone.” The Vikes will take on Concordia Academy in Roseville on Friday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.before traveling to Simley to play the Spartans on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 7:15 p.m.