Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Al Rose
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

MLWR boys edge Barnum


December 14, 2017

Dan Lingle

Rebel Adam Dragicevich had 12 points and seven rebounds in the December 8 game against the Bombers. Bomber Sam Goodwin is pictured with Dragicevich.

The Moose Lake/Willow River Rebels boys used better balance in scoring and three more free throws to edge the Bombers 47-44 in Barnum on Friday, December 8. The Rebels had three players in double figures while the Bombers had one player hit the double digits.

The Rebels were led by Ryan Barrett's 15, including a trio from outside the arc. After getting shut-out until 17:59 of the first half, Barrett's first points came on a three-pointer that helped MLWR close the gap to one point and get important momentum heading in at halftime. Adam Dragicevich, with 12 points and a team-leading seven rebounds for his best game of the season, missed underneath with three seconds left, but followed his shot, muscled for the ball and found Barrett way outside of the top of the key for an NBA-length bomb at the buzzer for 24-25. Avery Kosloski was MLWR's other double-digit scorer as he had 14, including one three-pointer.

Tyler Nynas was Barnum's only double-digit scorer. The junior guard had a game-high 19, including three from outside the arc.

Second-year MLWR head coach Wes Cummins and his former hoops wizard Rich Newman had a fascinating battle of wits. The coaches played smart court chess by frequently switching back and forth from man-to-man and zone defenses to try to keep their respective opponents off balance. It often appeared that each coach was trying to tempt the other team into shooting three-pointers as both teams struggled a lot on the long ones.

The bombs ended up being a wash as each team garnered only 12 points. The following represents those statistics, three-pointers: MLWR, 2-for-14 (14 percent) and 2-for-7 (29 percent) for 4-for-21 (19 percent); Bombers, 2-for-14 (14 percent) and 2-for-11 (18 percent) for 4-for-25 (16 percent). Additionally, with a chance to tie the game with a three-pointer, the Bombers set up a play. It was a heartbreaker as one of Barnum's best sharpshooters got a good, clean look, but the shot rimmed out at the horn and the Rebels held on for the three-point win.

The inside game also was a stalemate as each team worked for 26 points in the paint with the following stats: MLWR, 7 for-18 (39 percent) and 6-for-11 (55 percent) for 13-for-29 (45 percent); Bombers, 7-for-20 (35 percent) and 6-for-12 (50 percent) for 13-for-32 (41 percent); Rebels, overall field goal rate, 17-for-50 (34 percent); Barnum, overall field rate, 17-for-57 (30 percent).

In 2016-17, each team won on their home hardwood with alleged disproportionate numbers of free throws claimed to be the difference in both games by fired up coaches and fans. The Rebels won the first game 52-41 and the Bombers won the rematch 47-38.

This year, it would come down to free throws again. MLWR earned the victory at the stripe as the Rebels stayed steady at 4-for-7 (57 percent) and 5-for-9 (56 percent), including 4-for-4 by Dragicevich in crunch time when the game was literally on the line. MLWR finished at 9-for-16 (56 percent) on its free throws. The Bombers began with one more point from the stripe than the Rebels as they shot 5-for-9 (56 percent). But it went way awry for Barnum in the second half as the usually solid Bombers went 1-for-7 (14 percent). Barnum totaled 6-for-16 (38 percent) on its free throws.

The following represents the non-shooting stats: rebounding, Bombers 16-10 for 26; MLWR 13-9 for 22. To the Bombers' credit, at least one third of their rebounds were offensive boards. Barnum was particularly intuitive and very quick in zipping after missed three-pointers The Bombers also blocked out more effectively underneath the bucket to earn multiple second-chance opportunities. Steals, MLWR 7-5 for 12; Bombers 7-3 for 10; assists, Barnum, 5-3 for 8; Rebels, 2-5 for 7; turnovers, Barnum, 8-8 for 16; MLWR, 9-8 for 17.

The following represents points (including three-pointers), rebounds, steals and assists for the 2-2 Rebels, who improved to 15-12 last year in head coach Cummins' first year at the helm after MLWR went only 7-20 in the 2015-16 season: Barrett, 15 (3), 5, 2, 0 - please note, Barrett's stats of 0, 4, 2, 3 were omitted for the Rushford-Peterson game; Kosloski, 14 (1), 4, 3, 1; Dragicevich, 12, 7, 2, 2; Thomas Gulso, 4, 3, 4, 2; Brady Watrin, 2, 2, 1, 2; Mason Olson, 0, 1, 0, 0.

The following represents points (including three-pointers) for the Bombers: Nynas, 19 (3), 2, 4, 3; Kyle Kielty, 8, 4, 2, 1; Sam Goodwin, 7, 7, 1, 0; Drake Weets, 5, 4, 2, 3; Braeden Hlavka, 3 (1), 5, 0, 1; Tony Robinson, 2, 3, 1, 1.

The Rebels' next home game is against the Mesabi East Giants on Tuesday, December 19, in Moose Lake at 5:45 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. The first day of winter, Thursday, December 21, has MLWR traveling north to take on the Eskomos at Esko with the same start times. Barnum plays an away game against the Crosby-Ironton Rangers on Friday, December 15.


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