February 4, 2010 at 9:37 a.m.

Moore's impressive game fuels North Branch's win vs Fridley

Moore's impressive game fuels North Branch's win vs Fridley
Moore's impressive game fuels North Branch's win vs Fridley

North Branch 70, Fridley 53

After dropping three straight contests, the North Branch boys basketball squad needed a complete effort to bust out of their slump, and they got it with a 17-point drubbing of the Fridley Tigers.

"We played probably our best 'team' game of the season," Head Coach Bill Baumann said. "We played the way I felt we could play from the beginning of the year."

The performance was a far cry from the two teams' first meeting of the year. Although North Branch came out on top of that contest also, they needed to clutch free throws from their leading scorer, Kyle Grote, with only seconds remaining to eek out a one-point victory.

"When we played them the first time this year they killed us on the boards and by driving to the basket," Baumann explained. "This game, we controlled the boards and kept them in front of us and prevented their penetration. Our defense set the stage for our offense."

For the first 11 minutes of the half, the game remained close. North Branch held the lead the whole time, but they never stretched it to more than seven, and Fridley was usually only one or two baskets away from taking the lead.

"We handled their pressure well and even took advantage of it," Baumann explained. "This was our most complete game as we took the lead early in the game, held on to it and even built on it as the game progressed."

That lead slowly went from single digits to double digits 14 minutes into the opening frame, and it stayed there through the rest of the half.

Throughout the second half, the Vikings simply put more space between themselves and the Tigers, stretching their lead to 20 at one point in the half.

In the end, the Vikings won by 17 with a 70-53 victory.

"We were missing Kyle Grote and everybody on the team stepped up their game. Kosta Moore had the game of his career. He was all over the floor," Baumann said. "Forrest Huset started in Kyle's spot and had 12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Sean Franks added 14 points and five rebounds."

The career game of Moore that Buamann alluded to was a 24 point, seven rebound, six assists, four steal performance by the senior guard.

"We got into a little foul trouble in the first half and Anders Dahlberg, Sean Graff and David Leason came off the bench to give us a real lift."

Irondale 54, Fridley 47

The guys took a page out of the girls basketball squad with their offensive struggles. The girls had a tough time breaking out of an offensive slump all week, and the boys started to feel it in their conference match up against Irondale.

"Coming off the Fridley game, we were looking to build on our performance but we came out too tentative," Baumann explained. "In the Fridley game, we attacked them and found success, but against Irondale we were overly cautious and didn't get on track on offense in the first half."

Because of that tentativeness, the Vikings only managed 12 first half points against Irondale, but their stout defense kept them in the game as they only allowed 23 points from the Knights.

In the second half, though, Irondale started pouring it on and they stretch their lead to 15 points only five minutes into the half at 30-15.

A 16-5 run by the Vikings pulled them back within striking distance, though, and they even had the ball with a chance to make it a one possession game. The Irondale defense forced a stop, however, and they quickly went on a 7-0 run to stretch the lead back out to 11. "We had exhausted ourselves trying to get back in the game and Irondale increased the lead," Baumann said.

With one and a half minutes left, the Vikings trailed by 12 and didn't seem to have a chance at all. However, an 8-1 run over the next minute gave the Vikings a chance to complete a miraculous comeback.

Irondale made their clutch free throws, though, and North Branch wasn't able to draw any closer.

"The kids just didn't give up," Baumann said proudly.

With Grote out again, nobody was able to really pick up the almost 18 points per game he contributed this time. Huset led the team with 11 points and Christian Ehrnriter and Sean Franks had seven points each.


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