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

By Scott Olson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

8th grade travel team claims second at tournament


April 12, 2018


Back: Alivia Mallory, Maci Kukuk, Janna Bode, Simone Pruette, Grace Jordan Front: Coach Scott Olson, JoJo Fossum, Natalie Mikrot, Ava North Not pictured: Coach Shawn Bode who was with his fifth grade boys team

On Saturday, April 7, the Moose Lake/Willow River eighth grade girls basketball travel team was in Willow River for the Pacesetter Region 4 Tournament. With four teams signed up, each team played each other in a 16-minute pool play game. The Rebels lost the first game to Esko and went on to won the next two against North Woods and International Falls. This gave them a #2 seeding with Esko #1, I- Falls #3 and North Woods #4. So this set the Rebel's up for a game against I-Falls and Esko against North Woods with the winners advancing to the Championship game and the losers playing for third place.

The Rebels came out strong behind the ball handling of Natalie Mikrot and the shooting of Maci Kukuk. Natalie would beat the press that I-Falls was putting on and would feed the girls that were open. She had most of the assists in the game by doing this. Maci was on fire when shooting three-pointers, at one point going four for four in the beginning of the game and ended up with 19 points and five three-pointers. JoJo Fossum had a solid game on the rebounds and accounted for eight points with four from the freethrow line and Ava North accounted for five points with three from the freethrow line. All the girls had a hand in moving the ball around and getting it in the hands of the scorers. The Rebels won the game, sending them to the Championship game against Esko.

This Esko team is one that does the traveling team tourneys around the state and does not play for their high school during the school season. They are a well-coached team and have played many games with each other over the years. All the teams they faced in this tourney were no match for their playing abilities. Because of this, they went out on a strong run against the Rebels. The girls never gave up but knew they were in for a long game. In the end, every girl on the team scored a basket or two, which is always great to see. The girls ended up losing with their heads held high. With this second place finish they once again qualified for the Pacesetter MIT tourney in June. This puts an end to the season for most of the girls who will continue with the spring sports if the snow ever clears the fields and the tracks.


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