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

By Al Rose
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

MLWR survives scare by Aitkin


Al Rose

Avery Kosloski led the Rebels with 17 points for his fifth game in a row scoring double digits.

The Moose Lake/Willow River Rebels boys basketball team survived a scare by the 2-10 Aitkin Gobblers to take the win string to five in a row by squeezing out a 50-47 victory in Moose Lake on Thursday, January 12. MLWR led only 26-25 at halftime and had to stave off threats down the stretch. Each team had two players in double figures. The Rebels moved forward toward a .500 record as they improved to 6-7.

The Gobblers closed the gap to 45-47 at 2:04 with two free throws by Spencer Jacobs and soon knotted it up 47-47. The Rebels set it up and Ryan Barrett found Isaac Riihiluoma on a cut to the hoop for 49-47 at 18 seconds. Aitkin's Wyatt Sanford attempted to soar through the lane at 12 seconds and hope for a hoop and a foul for a three-point play, but failed. Riihiluoma made the front of a 1-1 foul at eight seconds 50-47. The Gobblers, who ended up at a miserable 1-for-22 on three-pointers, misfired at two ticks and with a very odd carom to the corner, launched a last long one at the horn.

The Rebels' season-leading scorer, Avery Kosloski, hit the double figures for the fifth game in a row. After Kosloski had paced MLWR to the 68-66 recent win over South Ridge with 24 points, he led his team past the Gobblers with a game-high 17 points, including three of the Rebels' seven three-pointers that provided the majority of the difference. Riihiluoma registered his second double digit game in a row as he had 15 points, including two three-pointers.

MLWR went a fair 7-for-21 (33 percent) outside the arc, but Aitkin suffered an awful 1-for-22 (five percent) failure. The Gobblers did make up a lot of ground on the inside as they went a reasonably strong 16-for-35 (46 percent) while the Rebels struggled at only 9-for-34 (26 percent) in the paint. Aitkin actually edged MLWR by a percentage point on the total field rate with 17-for-57 (30 percent) as compared to 16-for-55 (29 percent). The Gobblers had slightly better success on free throws with 12-for-14 (86 percent) while the Rebels hung in there with 11-for-18 (61 percent) from the stripe, including 9-for-14 in the second half.

Aitkin gobbled up 36 rebounds while MLWR, other than Jared Witkowksi's team-leading nine boards, was not very impressive off the iron and glass at just 28 rebounds. The Rebels had one more steal at 10-9. MLWR was a bit better on the play-making at 11-9 on assists. Both teams took fairly good care of the ball as MLWR had 13 turnovers and Aitkin had 15 lost possessions.

The following represents points (including three-pointers), rebounds, steals and assists for the Rebels: Kosloski - 17 (3), 4, 0, 4; Riihiluoma - 15 (2), 3, 3, 0; Barrett - 8 (1), 5, 4, 3; Thomas Gulso - 5 (1), 2, 1, 2; Evan Hanson - 3, 3, 1, 1; Witkowski - 2, 9, 1, 1.

The Rebels go on a seven-game road stretch culminating with a huge rematch with the Bombers in Barnum on Friday, February 10, at 7:15 p.m. The boys host Cook County in a game to be played on the big court in Willow River at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, February 17, after the girls play the Vikings on the same court for the early game at 4:45 p.m.


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