The Moose Lake Willow River boys' basketball team (14-3) had three tough contests last week and swept all their games, as did the JV and C-team.
On Tuesday, January 21, the bus took the team to play the Crosby-Ironton Rangers. The Rebels came out strong and led at half-time 44-26. The Rebels had eight players that scored and shot an impressive 94.4% (17 for 18) from the free throw line. They didn't miss a free throw until the final minutes of the game. The Rebels made 15 three-point shots and the Rangers made 13. Mason Olson had six, Phillip Sheetz and Michael Olson three, Sam Dewey with two and Watrin one. The Rebels scored 52 points in the second half for the win 92-75. Brady Watrin pulled down eleven defensive rebounds and had seven assists. Scoring for the Rebels were Mason Olson 39, Michael Olson 16, Sheetz 11, Watrin 10, Sam Dewey 6, Carter Johnson and Ben Dewey with four, and Duane Broughton two.
In the first game of the night the Rebels C-team won 37-24 and in the second game, the Rebels JV won 42-31.
The next game was Thursday, January 23. Coaches Steve and Dave Battaglia with the Cloquet Lumberjacks were welcomed into the Willow River gym by Athletic Director Dave Louzek. Cloquet is in the 7AAA Lake Superior Conference. The gym was full. The students were celebrating Snow Week and supporting their team. MLWR led by 11 at half-time 42-31. Cloquet changed their defense up in the second half, limiting our scoring. The Rebels won 69-65.
Nine Rebels scored. From the three-point area, Mason Olson had three, Michael Olson two, Sam Dewey and Sheetz each had one. Mason Olson led the team in scoring with 26, Watrin had eight, Ben Dewey, Michael Olson, Landin Kurhajetz and Duane Broughton each had six, Sam Dewey and Sheetz had five, and Johnson finished with one. Brady Watrin led the team in rebounds with six. Team leaders in steals were Ben and Sam Dewey with four and three. The Rebels were 10 for 12 from the free throw line, for 83 percent. Cloquet was six for 15 from the line. The game was won on free throws. Cloquet and MLWR each made 19 two-point baskets and seven three-point baskets.
The Rebels JV team won by more than 20. The Rebels C-team, with fifteen minutes left in the game, were down 26-32. They came back to win in overtime 51-50. Nolan Nelson, eighth grader, had just come back from an injury. He scored 17 points in the last 15 minutes.
Off to Cromwell on Friday night to take on the Cromwell-Wright Cardinals. The Cardinals are in Section 5A, East Polar League-Small. They were 12-1; their only loss was to Cloquet. The Running Rebels came out fast and strong on defense. At half-time, Rebels led 44-31. In the second half the Rebels scored another 44 points and held the Cardinals to 24 points. Rebels won 88-55.
Nine Rebels scored. Mason Olson led the team with 29, Brady Watrin had 18, Ben Dewey, Michael Olson, and Sheetz had 10 each, Broughton four, Sam Dewey three, Johnson and Alex Watrin with two each. From the three-point range, Mason Olson had three, Ben Dewey, Brady Watrin and Michael Olson each had two, and Sam Dewey had one. The Rebels made 37 percent of their three-point shots, 75 percent of their free throws, and 74 percent of their two-point shots. For the Cardinals, Gage Zoeller had 23, Michael Pocernich 16, Ethan Shelton three, Noah Foster, Nathan Eliason and Aiden Lehti each had two.
The MLWR record of 14 wins and three losses is number 14 out of all the Class AA teams in the state. Their points scored averaging 78.8 points a game is seventh in the state. They are tenth in the state in Points Differential with 19.6 point.
The MLWR JV defeated the Cardinals 68-40. Cromwell-Wright did not have a C-team.
The Rebels will travel to South Ridge on Friday, January 31, for their next game. The Panthers are in Section 7A, and have eight wins and seven losses for the year.