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January 21, 2019

12/13/2018 2:50:00 PM
NB topples Braham for first win

Cloquet 50, North Branch 41
The boys went up to Cloquet for a game against the 1-0 Cloquet Lumberjacks Saturday, December 1.

“I felt like we came out of the gates with great energy and effort, but just fell short,” Head Coach Alex Kuhlman said. “We controlled the game throughout the first half, being able to turn the Lumberjacks over resulting in some easy baskets. Unfortunately, similar to our opener against Denfeld, our shooting was very poor which made it impossible for us to get into our presses, that worked well early in the game.”

Zach Gazda led the Vikings with 11 points and 11 rebounds, but no one else was in double figures for the Vikings.

Kuhlman feels like the improvements are coming in every facet of the game, except the key one: shooting. North Branch had attempted six more three pointers than their opponents in the first two games, but the opponents have made 10 more than NB.

Anoka 78, North Branch 48
The Vikings opened the home schedule against a very tough opponent in Anoka.

“It didn't go the way that we hoped,” Kuhlman said flatly. “A slow start  -- we were down 27-6 -- proved to be a deficit that we weren't able to overcome.”

North Branch did go on a nice little 16-6 run before the half, but that didn’t even pull it to within single digits. The Vikings did come out with great energy in the second half, but Anoka’s talent was just a little bit too much and they continued to pull away.

“We are still not shooting the ball very well, but once that comes around we will be in good shape,” Kuhlman said.

Gazda had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Conner Hartmann added 10 rebounds. Austin Grovener added nine points and seven rebounds off the bench.

North Branch 67, Braham 37
The Vikings finally broke through with a 30 point victory over Braham last week.

The once-powerful Bombers were no match for North Branch, as the Vikings controlled the tempo from start to finish.

“It was by far the most complete game we’ve played all year,” Kuhlman said. “We had energy, enthusiasm, and it was great to see the guys play together as a team.”

Gazda led the way with 18 points, 13 rebounds, and eight blocks. The coach said, “He was a big reason that we were able to hold the Bombers to 10-of-58 from the field, and three-of-33 from inside the arc.”

Freshman Adam Rehm came off of the bench for nine first half points and Hartmann, Colby Knutson, and Carter Whitman all added eight points. Whitman also contributed seven assists.

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