12/6/2012 9:50:00 AM Offensive struggles don't keep NB from winning
By JEFF NORTON
It’s not how a team wins a game that matters, it’s whether they earned the win that goes in the record book. That rang true in North Branch’s season opener in which they tripped up Cloquet in a ultra low-scoring affair 29-21. Head Coach Dan Schindler’s teams have always been known for their hard-nosed defense and low-scoring games, but this one was even lower than normal. “I thought it was a very typical first game,” he said. “Both teams seemed a little nervous at the start.” North Branch locked up the Lumberjacks early, holding them to just 11 first half points, but at the same token, the Vikings only put up 12 points in the opening half. “I certainly was happy without defense, but I was hoping we would be better offensively,” Schindler said. “We missed some easy shots early and that seemed to affect our shooting the rest of the way.” Eventually, some of the shots began to fall for North Branch, and they pulled away -- as far as anyone would pull away in this game -- as they won by eight 29-21, but that margin was large considering Cloquet’s offensive output on the night. “Cloquet was a very physical team and we hadn't experienced that enough in practice and so we learned a lot about how we have to change our toughness on setting and using picks,” Schindler said. “The good thing is that we got some good shots and I think they will fall as the season goes on.” Not only was North Branch struggling from the field, they had a tough time hitting their free throws, going only five-of-16 from the charity stripe. Despite the problems, the Vikes got the win, and that’s all that matters to Schindler early in the season. “We got a win, and it was a section win, so we will take it and move on to the next game.” Sarah Lekson, Haley Huset and Courtney Selbitschka led the Vikings with six points each. Lekson also added 10 rebounds to being her senior campaign. Junior Mikayla Carlson and freshman Morgan Coleman also saw their first career varsity minutes and Schindler said he thought they both did a nice job and that he hopes they can keep it up to give the Vikes some much-needed depth this year. The Vikings took on St. Paul Harding earlier this week and will visit Minneapolis Patrick Henry tonight at 7 p.m. They travel up to Duluth Denfeld on Saturday, Dec. 8 to take on the Denfeld Hunters.