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February 27, 2020

12/26/2019 2:09:00 PM
Big Lake ruins North Branch's unblemished start, now 7-1

North Branch 71, St. Croix Prep 38
North Branch has found different ways to win all year, and a strong second half proved to be the key ingredient in their victory over St. Croix Prep on Tuesday, December 17.

The Lions did well limiting North Branch in the first half, keeping the game close at just 29-22. “We got off to a slow start against Prep,” Head Coach Alison Trampe said. “We went into halftime knowing we needed to make adjustments defensively.”

In the second half, the defense tightened up for NB, and that unlocked the offense as the Vikings went on a big run to break the game wide open. North Branch built a big lead and was able to coast down the stretch as they won 71-38.
The Vikings outscored St. Croix Prep 42-16 in the second half.

There were great individual performances all around. Paige Peaslee had 17 points, eight rebounds, four steals and four blocks. Maddie Helin had 16 points and Trampe said she shot the ball extremely well. Kate Carlson had 10 points, five rebounds and five assists, Chloe Lattimore added 11 points and six rebounds and Megan Bunes had nine points, four assists and four steals.

North Branch 56, Cloquet 46
The Vikings stretch their season-opening winning streak to seven with a double-digit victory over section  opponent Cloquet on Thursday, December 19.
This one was the polar opposite of their win over St. Croix Prep. The Vikings absolutely crushed the Lumberjacks in the first half, building a 31-13 lead. It looked like it was headed for a blowout that would feature plenty of running time in favor of North Branch.

But, Cloquet started hitting  shots in the second half, and North Branch struggled to stay in rhythm. The big lead may have had something to do with it, also, as focus can become a problem in a blowout.

Cloquet never threatened to take the lead, but the end margin was only 10 points, 56-46, in favor of NB.

“We weren’t very pleased with the second half, but we were excited to pick up our second section win of the season,” Trampe said.
Peaslee led the Vikes in scoring again, netting 21 points to go along with 10 rebounds.

Carlson had 12 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and six steals. Bunes added seven points and seven rebounds.

Big Lake 51, North Branch 42
Peaslee has been nearly unstoppable this year, but the Big Lake Hornets found the key to limiting her, and the Vikings offense suffered in their first loss of the season on Friday, December 20 against.

The junior center came into the game averaging 19 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, but Big Lake held her to a season low three points and five rebounds. They constantly mixed their defense against her and got her into some early foul trouble.

“As a team, we just came out a little flat playing our third game of the week,” Trampe noted.

Despite that, the Vikings rallied to tie the game at halftime at 23-23. “We just had a hard time getting into an offensive flow, but we hung in there all night,” Trampe said of the struggles.

It was a three point game with just one minute to play, but the Vikings had to start using fouls to stop the clock and the Hornets were making their free throws down the stretch, which expanded the lead and NB eventually fell 51-42.

The Vikings have the whole Christmas break off from competition and don’t return to the court until Friday, January 3 at Grand Rapids.

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