The Moose Lake Willow River boys’ basketball team (8-2) played their best to get a 13-point lead late in the game on Friday night in Willow River against Esko (8-2). But in the end, the Eskomos won with the help of a couple technical fouls called on the Rebels in the last 70 seconds of the game. The gym was packed and the students were supporting their athletic teams. The atmosphere in the gym was intense, excitable, and passionate.
At half time, the score was Rebels 44-Esko 45. The second half of the game changed because Esko’s player James LaGarde got his fifth foul on a charging call, knocking down Sam Dewey and had to leave the game. He had scored 18 points in the first half including four 3-point shots and four points in the second half.
The Rebels led by 13 late in the game. Mason Olson sprained his ankle and had to leave the game. Brady Watrin went up to block a shot and got called for a foul and then got his fifth foul a minute later and had to leave the game. The Rebels were held without a field goal for the final seven minutes of the game. With 1.5 seconds left on the clock the Rebels were called for a second technical foul. In the final 70 seconds, Senior Peyton Wefel of Esko made four free throws, because of the technical fouls, to finish the game with 31 points and a comeback to win the contest 75-73.
Phillip Sheetz, Ben Dewey, Michael Olson, Mason Olson and Carter Johnson made ten shots from the 3-point line. Esko made eight from beyond the arch.
Scoring for the Rebels were Mason Olson 17, Brady Watrin 14, Sheetz 11, Johnson 10, Ben Dewey 9, Michael Olson, Landin Kurhajetz and Logan Orvedahl with 6.
In the JV game Esko led at the half 32-19 but the Rebels came back to end the game with 52 and Esko 55. In the C-team game the Rebels led at the half 35-29, but lost by three at the end of the game 47-50. In all three contests with Esko, the Rebels came up short by only 8 points. The teams were evenly matched.
The Crusader Christmas Boys’ Basketball Classic was held December 26, 27, and 28 at Cathedral High School in St. Cloud. The teams that participated including MLWR were Concordia-Academy, Melrose, Litchfield, Breck, Royalton, Milaca, and St. Cloud Cathedral.
In the first round the Rebels faced the Litchfield Dragons. At half time Litchfield led 27-24. The final score was Litchfield 64-MLWR 56. Litchfield went on to defeat Breck for third place 69-52. But in their second game, they scored only two points in the second half and lost to Melrose 50-37.
Mason Olson led in scoring with 24, Ben Dewey and Brady Watrin each with 7, Orvedahl, Kurhajetz and Michael Olson each had 6. The Rebels were seven for nine from the free throw line. Eight threes were scored by Rebel players Mason Olson, Michael Olson, Ben Dewey, and Logan Orvedahl.
Their second game was against the Concordia Academy Beacons. The Rebels only managed to score 12 points in the first half but came back with 53 points in the second half to end the game with 65. The Beacons scored 41 in the first half and 38 in the second for 79 points. Concordia had lost to Melrose in their first game and defeated Milaca 59-52 for fifth place. Sam Dewey made five threes, Watrin three, Mason Olson two and Orvedahl one. Mason Olson was leading scorer with 33 points followed by Sam Dewey 17, Watrin 11, Orvedahl three and Drew Danielson one. Watrin had six rebounds.
The last day of the tournament the Rebels went up against Royalton. Royalton had lost to Breck by 14 and to Milaca by 6. The Rebels were on their game and ready for a victory. At half time the Rebels were in the lead by 20 and won the game 64-36 to get seventh place. Michael Olson made three threes, Mason Olson, Sam Dewey, Watrin and Orvedahl each made two and Ben Dewey one. In this game Mason Olson scored 16 points, Watrin had 12, Michael Olson nine, Orvedahl seven, Sam Dewey six, Kurhajetz and Chance Lunde with four, Johnson and Ben Dewey three.
Melrose defeated Cathedral 56-43 for the championship.
On Thursday, January 9, MLWR Varsity and JV boys’ and girls’ teams will have a double header with Silver Bay. These games will all be played in the Moose Lake gym. Boys’ varsity and girls’ JV will play early at 4:45, then at 6:30 girls’ varsity and boys’ JV will play. In the Willow River gym at 4:30 the 7th grade boys’ team will play Proctor and at 5:30 the 8th grade will play Proctor. On Tuesday, January 14, the Rebels boys’ team will host Duluth Marshall in the Willow River gym. The C-team and JV play at 5:45 and the varsity at 7:15.