December 7, 2006 at 8:03 a.m.
The game was close for most of the first half with ties at five different times through the first 12 minutes. With six minutes to go, the scoreboard read 21-21. Jake Chambers, with the help of John Lindstrom and Nick Perrin carried most of the scoring load to that point.
After Central took a lead on a freethrow, the Vikings outscored Duluth 10-3 before the intermission to take a a six point advantage (31-25) into the locker room. Perrin and Ryan Norman each scored five points in a two minute late-half scoring surge.
In the Second half, the Vikings pulled away steadily and led by as much as 20 (67-47) with five minutes to go. Central outscored the Vikings 12-4 as the clock ran out. But, it was too little, too late as North Branch cruised to the win.
“We played pretty well for a first game. I was real pleased with our intensity and hustle,” said North Branch head Coach Bill Baumann. “Our depth was a major factor as we were able to wear them down over time. We shot the ball pretty well and we made free throws when we needed them.
“We came out of the game pretty pleased. But, at the same time, we left ourselves with some things to work on. We had too many turnovers and we can work on that. We also had a couple of defensive breakdowns that we can and will improve on with practice and experience,” the coach added.
The Vikings shot very well from the floor. The 23 for 42 from the field included 10 of 19 from the three-point line. The Vikings’ defensive pressure bothered Duluth all day, resulting in 14 steals. Perrin was the most successful thief. He stole the ball four times while Chambers, Norman and Lindstrom each were credited with two. Justin Novak handed out six assists and Jeff Olson picked up four. Perrin (6), Lindtrom (5) and Bryce Hunter (5) were the leading rebounders for the Vikings.
“We had some good first-game performances. We had over 40 points out of our bench. The kids are responding to our up tempo style and realize we have to play that way to give ourselves an opportunity to win.
“Now, if we can build off this game on Tuesday (versus Cambridge-Isanti) we have a week of practice before we open the North Suburban Conference schedule. This year, we are playing 20 conference games and it is going to be a grueling challenge,” Baumann commented.
North Branch 31 40 71
Duluth Central 25 34 59
North Branch Scoring
Ryan Norman 14
Justin Novak 7
Jeff Olson 5
Nick Perrin 17
John Lindstrom 6
Jake Chambers 20
Bryce Hunter 2