|1/27/2023 12:03:00 PM|
North Branch's skid hits five games
After a promising 7-2 start to the season, the North Branch boys basektball team has dropped five straight contests, including two in the Mississippi 8 Conference last week, to even their record at 7-7.
Becker 80, North Branch 75
The closer of the Vikings’ two games last week was an overtime loss to Becker on Tuesday, January 17.
The Bulldogs were a solid 6-3 coming into the game with a perfect 4-0 mark in the M8C, so North Branch knew it’d be a tough affair.
The two teams battled it out in the first half, with the lead trading back and forth between the squads. North Branch was led by Brody Beaver, Carson Klein making his return from injury, Tyler Minke and junior Blake Lelm. That quartet was strong early, but Becker still held the slight advantage at halftime, leading 36-33.
In the second half, those four continued to shine and senior post player Mason Young also chipped in a couple big baskets from under the hoop. His extra contributions allowed the Vikings to cut into the small lead and even up the score with the Bulldogs after the final horn sounded.
In the extra grame, which was the Vikings third overtime game in a week’s span, Becker had the extra juice to pull away and win by five.
“I’m proud of how we put ourselves in a position to win on the road, but Becker made some crucial plays to take it from us,” Head Coach todd Dufault said. “[Give] credit to Becker, they’re a great team.
“It’s a tough stretch right now but there is no quit in this team. We’ll get back to work.”
Beaver ended the game with 21 points and Klein had 18. Lelm had a career high 15 points and Minke, who’s NB’s leading scorer, chipped in 10 points.
Princeton 85, North Branch 53
Things went from bad to worse for the Vikings when they traveled to Princeton on Friday, January 20 for a showdown with highly-ranked Princeton, who is 10-3 on the year and 4-1 in the M8C.
North Branch was never particularily competitive against the Tigers, falling behind by 14 at halftime and then letting the deficit balloon in the second half until they fell by 32.
Minke led the Vikings with 15 points and Beaver had 12.
“Sometimes you run into a team that is just flat out better than you. That was the case with Princeton,” Dufault said. “They are a great team. We are physically and mentally wore down. We so need a weekend to refresh and come back stronger next week. We won't stop believing!”
The Vikings were hoping to break the losing streak earlier this week when they took on county rival Chisago Lakes. They’ll host last place Monticello on Thursday, January 26 before traveling to section foe Hibbing on Saturday, January 28.