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November 18, 2018

1/19/2018 3:23:00 PM
Vikings impressive off the court, working towards success on it
The NB boys basketball team volunteered at Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis on one of their off days last week.
The NB boys basketball team volunteered at Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis on one of their off days last week.

Despite not having a ton of  success on the court this season, the 2-10 North Branch boys basketball team record hasn’t stopped team mates from bonding and volunteering off the court.

In the midst of two hard-fought losses last week, the Vikings had 11 varsity players, along with their coach Alex Kuhlman and the president of the North Branch Court Club, Paul Ramberg, volunteer to prepare a meal at the Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis.
“I thought this was a great opportunity to give back to some families that are going through some really difficult times,” Kuhlman said. “Our players and Paul did a fantastic job cooking, serving, and cleaning up...as well as interacting and bringing smiles to the families that were there. I think events like this bring perspective into our lives and into our team.”

Kuhlman continued, “As parents and fans clamor for more wins – and we are doing everything that we can to get them – I think our community should be proud of the kids that we put out on the basketball court. They handled themselves as well as a coach could have possibly hoped for and I am extremely proud of them.”

The Vikings were competitive in both losses to two tough teams.

They dropped their Tuesday, January 9 meeting with Princeton 67-59, and the Tigers are 9-3 this season.

“We knew that to beat Princeton we would have to play an extremely good game and for the most part we did that,” Kuhlman said. “We were a bit loose with the ball, committing 19 turnovers which is too many to beat a quality team.”

But, North Branch remained aggressive. So much so that they went to the free throw line 31 times in the game. That really helped late in the game when the Vikings went on a spirited 9-1 run down by 10 points, and that pulled them to within two points with 40 seconds left in the game. However, the Vikings just aren’t experienced in those spots yet and couldn’t make a final play to get them over the hump.

“I was really pleased with the resiliency that our players showed,” Kuhlman noted. “We have really struggled to score all season but our players are starting to overcome that with going to the glass aggressively as well as getting to the hoop and foul line.”

Jonah Marcussen was the chief attacker in the game, as he scored 21 points and had seven rebounds. He got to the line 20 times on the game.

Zach Gazda had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Dylan Ramberg and Brady Brodin each chipped in nine points.

Buffalo 66, North Branch 52
This game was a wild card for the Vikings. The Bison are a Class 4A team and have some talent, but two of their starters were out due to injury.

Unfortunately, North Branch couldn’t take advantage of that fact. “We fell backwards a bit and I thought we didn’t come out with the energy, intensity and urgency that it takes to compete in the Mississippi 8,” Kuhlman said after the game. “I felt like if we played the way we did against Princeton, we could have gotten out of there with a win.”

But, Kuhlman was quick to give credit to the Bison, saying they had players step up and play well in the starters’ absence.

Gazda had another strong game, scoring 23 points. He’s rounding into form nicely after missing a big chunk of the season due to injury. Ramberg had seven points in support.

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