December 8, 2005 at 6:25 a.m.
Cambridge took the first lead on a field goal 23 seconds into the game. Viking David Bennett provided the only North Branch lead of the contest when he scored, was fouled and converted the free throw for a 3-2 lead at the one minute mark.
Cambridge pulled away the next three minutes on the strength of a three pointer, one from the paint and two more threes. Trailing 16-7, the Vikings got back into the game with threes by Jeff Olson and Jake Chambers off assists by Justin Novak and Nick Perrin. After cutting the margin to 16-13, the Vikings stayed close with a John Lindstrom three at the eight minute mark of the opening half.
With the score 20-16, Cambridge went on a 10-3 run over the next four minutes and opened a 30-19 lead. The closest the Vikings got in the rest of the half was a seven point deficit (30-23) with 2:30 remaining. However, the Bluejackets outscored NB 12-2 before intermission and enjoyed a 42-25 halftime advantage.
In the second half, the Vikings hit six threes in the first 10 minutes while climbing to within nine points twice (56-47 and 59-50). Cambridge scored the next 12 to push the lead to 71-50. Chambers scored eight points in the last two minutes, but that was too little, too late.
The Vikings shot 42 percent from the field, compared to 53 percent for the Bluejackets. Cambridge outrebounded North Branch 36 to 22.
“Cambridge has a good team and they are very experienced and well coached. They were at the top of the North Suburban Conference last year and they showed that experience,” said North Branch head coach Bill Baumann.
“We played hard, but made too many mistakes. When you make those mistakes against a good team like Cambridge they will take advantage of it and make you pay.
“We got a taste of what it is going to be like in the North Suburban and the kind of effort we are going to need every night. It showed us where we need to improve and things we need to work on,” Baumann concluded.
Viking Stats vs Cambridge
Player FT/A FG R St A TP
D. Bennett 1/2 3 3 - - 7
J. Chambers 6/10 5 3 1 18
J. Kovarik - - - - 2 -
J. Lindstrom - 1 - 1 1 3
J. Novak 4/6 2 7 2 4 8
J. Olson - 2 - - - 6
N. Perrin - 3 2 1 1 9
T. Peterson - 2 2 1 1 5
M. Warren - 1 3 1 3 2
Totals 11/18 19 20 7 12 58
Double overtime thriller on Saturday afternoon.
In a rare matinee game, the Vikings hosted the Trojans of Duluth Central Saturday, December 3. The 1 p.m. game had about everything a fan could want, including a hard fought 76-75 double overtime win for the home team.
The game was one of those end-to-end contests with a lot physical contact. The Trojans took an early 11-3 lead five minutes into the game. The Vikings fought back and closed the margin to 13-12 midway through the first half.
The teams played pretty even for the next four minutes. David Bennett tied the score at 18 on a nice move down the lane. After Central regained the lead, Matt Warren tied it 20-20 with 5:09 on a drive to the hoop.
However, Duluth went on a 13-0 tear and led 33-20 with 2:30 in the first stanza. That 13 point bulge was still there as the half ended with Duluth leading 37-24.
For the first 10 minutes of the second half, the teams exchanged baskets as DC maintained its lead. Trailing 54-42 with eight minutes to go, the Vikings clawed their way back and took only their second lead of the game, 56-55, when Justin Novak drove the lane and scored over Central’s 6’7’’ center with 1:20 to go.
Jake Chambers’ two charity tosses with 38 seconds left built the Vikings’ lead to 58-55. North Branch appeared to have the game won when John Lindstrom made the second of two free throws with 6.7 seconds left. With the score 59-56, the Trojans took it the length of the court and knotted the score at 59 on a long three from the right wing as time ran out.
A Chambers free throw and field goal and four Nick Perrin free throws put the Vikings in good shape in the OT. Trailing 66-63 with 5.2 seconds remaining, Central got the ball to the smallest man on the court, 5’6” Noah Pauley, who split the Vikings defense at the point and threw up a prayer. As the buzzer sounded, the ball banked off the board and through the hoop.
The second OT began at 66 all. Both teams had leads in the four minute extra period and Duluth took its final lead on another Pauley three pointer with 0:48 left. He was fouled on the play, made the free throw and gave his team a 75-74 lead.
As the last seconds clicked off the clock, the Vikings desperately tried to find a good shot. Chambers had scored all the Vikings’ points in the period and, with time running out, he found himself between the backboard and the baseline. Unable to find a teammate to pass to, he shot the ball over the backboard, hoping for a miracle. Miracles happen! The ball bounced off the top of the backboard and fell through the hoop. The officials ruled it good. Central’s last second shot bounced off the rim and the Vikings had their first win of the year, 76-75.
“We won this game on a controversial basket, but we'll take it anyway. We did not play well for about three fourths of the game. We were not patient on offense and out of control on defense,” was coach Baumann’s analysis.
“We settled down late in the game and ran our offense and got good shots or we got to the free throw line. We just didn't launch three's because they were available. We ran our offense under control. Maybe that was because we got a little tired and we had to slow down a little. Now we have to carry this over in the future.
“We really have to improve our rebounding. Just because we’re vertically challenged doesn't mean we can't block off on the boards.”
Viking Stats vs Duluth Central
Player FT/A FG R St A TP
D. Bennett - 3 3 - - 6
J. Chambers 11/16 8 2 4 2 28
J. Kovarik - - - - - -
J. Lindstrom 1/2 2 4 3 - 6
J. Novak 1/3 4 - 4 1 9
J. Olson 0/1 3 - 3 1 6
N. Perrin 6/6 3/8 4 1 1 14
T. Peterson - - - 2 1 -
M. Warren 1/2 3 7 3 2 7
Totals 2/30 25 31 20 8 76
Both teams shot 44 percent from the field. Duluth Central outrebounded the Vikings 40-31.
The Vikings were scheduled to play Columbia Heights at home Tuesday, December 6. They then have a week to work on improvements before playing Milaca.
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