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

By Al Rose
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Rebels rally to top Tigers in double OT


Al Rose

Rebel Ryan Barrett had 19 points with two three-pointers on Thursday, March 2, in Moose Lake.

The Moose Lake/Willow River Rebels rallied on Senior Night to top a taller Rush City Tigers team 82-74 in double- overtime on Thursday, March 2, for the regular season finale and to retire the Moose Lake High School gymnasium in style. The Rebels improved to 15-11, while Rush City went to 8-14.

The Tigers, with five in double digits, led 36-29 at the break. MLWR, with four in double figures, gradually closed the gap. Thomas Gulso, who missed 10 minutes of the second half with a nose bleed, came back and canned a three-pointer at 3:51. Isaac Riihiluoma converted a three-point play and Ryan Barrett also converted a three-point play for 67-65, Rebels, at 0:31.5. But the Tigers, with one 6-foot, 7-inch player and two 6-foot, 5-inch players, managed to work it inside to tie the game 67-67 at two ticks before the horn.

Each team scored five points in the first overtime. The Tigers used their height and play-making for two buckets underneath and they made the front end of a one-and-one. Riihiluoma sank a three-pointer from the top of the key. Gulso batted a ball away from a Tiger for a nifty steal at 0:36.4 and hit both one-and-one free throws for 72-72 at 0:36.2. Riihiluoma made a smart decision to sacrifice his fifth foul to prevent an easy and likely game-winning lay-up. The senior co-captain's risk paid off as the Tiger missed the front of a one-and-one. Gulso got one try from the corner at 0:1.5, but missed and the game went to a second OT.

The Rebels were not to be denied in the second OT with MLWR out-scoring Rush City 10-2. The Tigers got one underneath, but missed twice outside the arc and twice at the foul stripe. Barrett got a crucial steal and Gulso drained a three at 1:03 off a nice assist by Barrett. Barrett soon scored on a power move and he added a pair of free throws at 0:39. Avery Kosloski went 3-for-5 on late-game freebies to further salt the away team.

Lead scorer Kosloski, closing the regular season with an average of 15.08 points per game, paced the Rebels for the second game in a row in double figures. The junior guard had 25 points, including four three-pointers. Barrett, taking over the second leading scorer spot with 11.28 points per game, had 19 with two threes. Riihiluoma, MLWR's third highest scorer with an average of 10.76 per game, had 15 points, including sinking four from outside the arc. Gulso hit the double digits for the fourth game in a row as he scored 10 points, including two threes.

The Rebels went 4-for-9, 6-for-9, 1-for-4 and 1-for-2 outside the arc for 12-for-24 (50 percent). The Tigers went 3-for-6, 4-for-7, no attempts and 0-for-2 for 7-for-15 (47 percent) on three-pointers. The 15-point difference in MLWR's favor from outside the arc definitely was a determining factor for the Rebels, particularly in the overtime period where MLWR had two threes, while Rush City came up empty.

Rush City was strong on the inside game at 9-for-21, 9-for-15, 2-for-3 and 1-for-1 for a solid 21-for-40 (53 percent) on the lane game. The Rebels battled the Tigers' trio of big guys for 7-for-17, 9-for-19, 0-for-4 and 1-for-2 for 17-for-42 (40 percent).

Rush City had an overall field goal rate of 28-for-55 (51 percent). MLWR's overall field goal rate was 29-for-66 (44 percent).

The Rebels added a good 12-for-16 (75 percent) on free throws. The Tigers shot 11-for-18 (61 percent) at the foul stripe.

The Rebels did a good job against the taller Tigers on the boards. Each team had 10 rebounds in the first half, but Rush City had the upper hand in the second half at 11-5. The Tigers had only one more board at 4-3 in the first OT. When MLWR really needed it, they turned it on to beat the Tigers 4-1 on the boards in the second OT. Rush City ended up out-rebounding the Rebels only 26-22 with eight offensive boards as compared to five offensive rebounds for MLWR.

The Rebels played a relentless ball-pressure zone defense and it paid off with 16 pickpockets as compared to 11 steals for the Tigers. Despite Rush City's height advantage, the Rebels came out ahead on the assists at 20-17. After two games in a row with only seven turnovers, MLWR had 16 lost possessions, but Rush City ran into a bit more trouble with 19 turnovers, almost entirely due to the Rebels' 16 steals.

The following represents points (including three-pointers), rebounds, steals and assists for the 15-11 Rebels: Kosloski - 25 (4), 4, 3, 5; Barrett - 19 (2), 1, 5, 4; Riihiluoma - 15 (4), 3, 2, 6; Gulso - 10 (2), 4, 3, 3; Evan Hansen - 7, 4, 2, 1; Jared Witkowski - 6, 3, 0, 0; Hunter Klund - 0, 3, 1, 1.

The fifth-seeded Rebels' first round Section 7AA Subsection 1 playoff game is on Thursday, March 9, at fourth-seeded Pequot Lakes at 7 p.m. Should MLWR win, they would most assuredly face first-seeded Esko at Duluth Denfeld at 7:15 p.m. on Saturday, March 11.


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