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March 20, 2019

1/31/2019 3:55:00 PM
Nelson sinks game-winning free throw in one-point win for NB

North Branch’s schedule continued to do them no favors as they were still in the process of making up games from their Little Falls Holiday Tourney last week.

They traveled to Staples to take on Staples-Motley and at least were able to come back with a razor-thin victory for their efforts.

North Branch 54, Staples-Motley 53
The Vikings came out a bit flat in the first half, part of which was due to the long travel and cold temperatures,  but part of which was just a bit of poor execution.

They were down 28-24 at halftime, and Head Coach Alison Trampe knew they needed to switch it up a bit to take down the Cardinals. “We talked about getting Paige Peaslee more touches against their zone defense, and the girls responded,” Trampe said.

Peaslee absolutely dominated the paint in the second half, but the game remained very tight. With North Branch holding for the last posession in a tie game, senior Gail Nelson, who was returning to the lineup from a brief injury absence, was fouled with 3.2 seconds left in the game. She was true on one of the free throws, and that’s all North Branch needed to get the win, 54-53.

“This was a good win for us and a great learning experience for the girls!” Trampe said excitedly. “We haven’t won many close games the past couple of seasons and it was fun to see the girls so pumped after the game.”

Peaslee ended the game with 26 points and 18 rebounds, scoring nearly half of North Branch’s points. Megan Bunes scored 13 points and Kate Carlson had nine points and seven assists.

Pine City 78, North Branch 46
The next two games on North Branch’s schedule didn’t go nearly as well as the win over Staples-Motley.

The first game on the docket was North Branch’s tussle with Pine City, who was 14-4 coming into the game. They improved that to 15-4 with a shellacking of North Branch, beating them by 28 points.

“We seemed tired right from the opening tip and never seemed to get anything going against Pine City,” Trampe said. “Due to not playing many games in December we have played a lot of games in a short amount of time and I think it caught up with us a bit against Pine City.”  

Bunes led the Vikings with 12 points, Carlson had 11, Peaslee 10 and Nelson nine.

St. Michael-Albertville 85, North Branch 45
The Lady Knights inched closer to finishing their Mississippi 8 Conference run undefeated. Since North Branch and Chisago Lakes moved to the conference, the Knights haven’t lost a single game within the M8C, and are set to leave after this season.

They are ranked fifth in the state in Class AAAA, so NB knew it was going to be an uphill climb.

“The girls came out with a great attitude and played incredibly hard all game. Against a very talented team, we had our best shooting percentage of the season at 45 percent and out-rebounded St. Michael, as well,” Trampe said.

“These are two areas we've been working to improve on as a team and it was impressive to see against a top- ranked team.”

Carlson led NB with 14 points, Peaslee had eight points and 12 rebounds, Bunes and Nelson also added eight points.

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