February 16, 2024 at 2:28 p.m.

Upsets highlight county clashes between North Branch and Chisago Lakes

Viking boys earn revenge while Wildcat girls win second game


By JEFF NORTON | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment
Sports Editor

BOYS

The North Branch boys basketball team has had some great spurts of play this year. 

But, they have been a bit inconsistent, so things get a little up and down at times when Head Coach Todd Dufault would love a bit more even keel play. With the swings, though, come some highs, and last week’s revenge win over Chisago Lakes was one of them.

The Vikings had lost to the Wildcats at home just a little over one month ago, but they got even with Chisago Lakes on the season with an 84-76 win at the Wildcats’ home gym on Tuesday, February 6.

Chisago Lakes, who’s play has also been erratic over the last few weeks after a strong 12-4 start to the season, dropped their second game in three contests over teams they had already beaten this year.

All the big stars made an appearance in this game, but North Branch had a bit more depth to their game, and that was the difference in the Vikings pulling the upset over the ‘Cats.

Chisago Lakes grabbed the early lead over North Branch in a hotly contested first half that saw the ‘Cats up 40-37 at the break.

But, North Branch’s big trio of Tyler Minke, Brody Beaver and Noah Thorsen were buoyed by Evan Overson, Owen Link and Jacob Knoespel each scoring nine points — Overson added seven boards as well — and that helped the Vikings come back in the second half and outscore CL by nine.

Minke had a team-high 20 points and eight rebounds for the Vikings and Beaver added 18 points, five assists and three steals. Thorsen chipped in 13 points in the winning effort.

For North Branch, they got a big effort from their top dog in Patrick Rowe, who scored a game-high 30 points. Zander Schmidt, who has been a lethal outside shooter for the Wildcats this season, scored 16 points and Blake Siefert added 11. Ian Larsen also chipped in eight points in the loss.


GIRLS

The Chisago Lakes girls basketball team hasn’t had much to cheer about this year, having only won one game so far on the campaign.

But, they did get a big boost to morale with a nice upset win in their county rivalry game against North Branch on Tuesday, February 6.

It looked like it might be another runaway victory in the season series for North Branch, as they built a 33-23 lead in the first half.

But, the second half was much different. North Branch went absolutely ice cold on offense and Chisago Lakes started to chip away at the lead.

No one player really took over the game for Chisago Lakes, it was just a bunch of different players making baskets at key times.

RaeAnn Goehring led the charge, scoring 10 points, but then five other girls scored six or more points, which is a lot considering it was a low scoring affair. Claire Beaver, Addyson Barrett and Abby Smith each scored seven points while Abby Sufka and Annika Hall each had six points for the ‘Cats.

Unfortunately for the Vikings, they chose to have their worst half of shooting in the second stanza. Their three pointers just weren’t going in, although that can happen with the long range shots. They were four-of-16 from beyond the arc.

But, the bigger issue was their struggles at the free throw line. The Vikings were three-of-11 from the charity strip, which was the difference in the contest as CL won with a 25-12 second half.

Katelyn Lattimore, Jo Bartkey and Kayla Diedrich all had 11 points for North Branch. Bartkey added eight boards and three steals. Ella Kuhlman and Bella Folkema each added six points.



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