February 15, 2007 at 8:50 a.m.
NB at Benilde-St. Margaret's
Jake Chambers was hot early as he scored the Vikings' first 10 points and 16 of their first 20 as NB built an early lead over the Red Knights. "We played really well the first 10 minutes against Benilde-St. Margaret's and, at one time, led 20-8," said North Branch head coach Bill Baumann. "We did that by playing within ourselves and being patient as well as only allowing them one shot on the offensive end."
Benilde soon started to eat into that lead. Over the next three minutes, they outscored the Vikings 13-1 to create a 21-21 tie at the 6:26 mark. "Instead of keeping with what we were doing, we tried to play faster when BSM was making a run. That let them take control of the game," Baumann explained.
The conference foes played evenly for the rest of the half and, when the buzzer sounded, Benilde held a 38-34 lead.
Nick Perrin took over as designated scorer early in the second half. He scored the first five for the Vikes and with help from Eric Sampson, Chambers and Bryce Hunter, the Vikings had closed the gap to 46-44 with 12:30 left. But, Benidle scored the next nine to take a 55-44 lead at 10:56.
"We had our chances early in the second half, but just couldn't convert. We had a wide open three and missed and they came down and hit a three to make it a six point turnaround," Baumann said. "We let them go on a small run and then we got in foul trouble and they were able to break it open."
"We got a couple of their bigger players in foul trouble, but they are able to bring someone just as big off the bench. When we lost Jake Chambers and Eric Sampson to fouls, they were really able to take advantage of us inside," the coach added.
Viking senior Justin Novak had big game with four rebounds, five assists and five steals to go with his 10 points. John Lindstrom also collected four boards. Perrin and Hunter each got credit for three rebounds.
North Branch 34 25 59
Benilde-St. Marg 38 41 79
North Branch Scoring
Ryan Norman 2
Nick Perrin 12
John Lindstrom 4
Jake Chambers 22
Justin Novak 10
Bryce Hunter 5
Eric Sampson 4
St. Francis at North Branch
Neither team was anxious to take many chances in the first half. Nick Perrin's three hoops from behind the arc accounted for almost half of the the Vikings' first half offensive output in this slow paced game.
The teams took turns with the lead through the first few minutes. Bryce Hunter tied the game at 7-7 with 14:04 to play and, 40 seconds later, gave the Vikings a lead they kept until midway through the second period. Perrin's third three gave the home team a 20-12 lead with 2:33 to play. The Saints hit three foul shots before halftime to make the score 30-15 at the break.
"The game was real slow and sluggish from the start. We were patient offensively and took advantage of what they gave us which slowed the game down," coach Baumann commented.
The first few minutes of the second half established a pattern that determined the outcome of the game. Jake Chambers and Ryan Norman each went two-for-two from the freethrow line to help the Vikings maintain the lead through the first minutes. At 14:20, it was 24-19.
A field goal by Hunter and two by Justin Novak gave the Vikings a 30-23 lead at the 11:26 mark before St. Francis took the lead with a 90 second, 9-0 run. Jake Kovarik tied it at 32 with a two at 7:59.
From that point, the Vikings took advantage of their opportunities from the foul stripe to secure the win. They scored 17 from the freethrow line in the second half. Perrin led the way with 11 from the line, including seven in the last 1:32.
"We hit some big freethrows down the stretch as they tried to get two for three. It almost worked, but they ran out of timeouts. We knew they were out of timeouts and we knew the only way they could beat us was if we fouled. The kids did a nice job of following instructions and letting them have the three in the last five seconds and not fouling them because we knew the clock would run out," Baumann concluded.
Perrin added five rebounds and two steals to his game leading 22 points. John Lindstrom had six rebounds and three assists for the Vikings. Chambers grabbed six boards to go with his 10 points and Novak stole the ball four times and collected four boards.
North Branch 20 32 52
St. Francis 15 36 51
North Branch Scoring
Ryan Norman 2
Jake Kovarik 2
Justin Novak 8
Nick Perrin 22
John Lindstrom 2
Jake Chambers 10
Bryce Hunter 6
The Vikings host Irondale tonight, Thursday, February 15 before playing at Columbia Heights Tuesday, February February 20. Both games start at 7:15 p.m.