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January 22, 2022

12/30/2021 1:49:00 PM
Vikings keep rolling with balanced offense and timely defense

The magical start to North Branch’s boys’ basketball season doesn’t seem to have an end in sight.

The Vikings went 2-0 last week over tough competition and they now stand at 6-1, which matches the most wins they’ve had in a season over the last seven years. And they still have 19 games to go.

North Branch 69, Pine City 51
The Vikings had four players in double figures, and their balanced offensive attack kept Pine City from keying on any one player as NB scored at will in the Vikes’ 69-51 win at Pine City on Tuesday, December 21.

North Branch had a five point lead at halftime, but ballooned that all the way to 18 by the end of the game with a second half surge.

Their offensive stalwarts were Adam Rehm and Trevor Johnson with 17 points each. Logan Murphy had 11 points and Andrew Thauwald had 10. Carson Klein and Travis Schoeberl each had six points in supporting roles for the Vikings.

The balance helped to cancel out Cole Waxberg, who scored 19 for Pine City, and Kameron Jusczak, who had 14 for the Dragons.

“What a great team win.  Pine City is not an easy place to win. They have a great program,” Head Coach Todd Dufault said. “Our bench continues to provide us with great minutes.  To have four guys in double figures is a testament to how well we share the ball.

“The guys don't care who scores, they want to win.   Once again, a great defensive effort.   We are starting to play better offensively and you can see it in our confidence.  So proud of how we responded in the second half tonight.”

North Branch 83, Hermantown 77
The good times kept rolling for North Branch, as they moved to 3-0 in section play with a high-scoring win over the Hawks on Thursday, December 23. It was NB’s last game before the short Christmas break, and they finished it up nicely.

“This was big win on the road against a really good section opponent,” the coach said. “We continue to play great defense and our offense has been a work in progress.  We have not shot the ball or finished like we are capable of but tonight, we made some big strides in the right direction.”

The win moves North Branch to 6-1 and 3-0 in the section, with wins over the third, fourth and sixth ranked teams in Section 7AAA. The other team in the Section that is competing with North Branch for the top spot is Hibbing, who is 5-1 and has also beaten Hermantown and Cloquet and features star Ayden McDonald.
North Branch is currently ranked ninth in the state in Class AAA according to Minnesota-scores.net. Hibbing is 10th. The two teams do not play in the regular season.

North Branch took on Delano and Southwest Christian in the Granite City Classic in St. Cloud on Wednesday, December 29 and Thursday, December 30, and then they’ll have a week off before traveling to Big Lake for a Mississippi 8 Conference match up on Thursday, January 6 and another section tussle with Grand Rapids on Saturday, January 8 in Duluth.

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