By Mary Ellen Dewey
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Rebels' ninth grade team takes state championship in Pacesetter Invite

 

Mary Ellen Dewey

Front row, left to right: Carter Johnson, Brady Watrin, and Mason Olson. Back row: Coach Angie Orvedahl, Phillp Sheetz, Sam Dewey, Landin Kurhajetz, Duane Broughton, Logan Orvedahl and Coach Paul Dewey.

Moose Lake Willow River's ninth grade boys' basketball team take the championship in the Pacesetter State Invitational tournament in Maple Grove on Saturday, June 23. MLWR's team only has three ninth graders and all the other players were eighth graders. Twelve school teams entered into the competition and had competed in a regional tournament in order to get invited. The other schools were: Zumbrota-Mazeppa, Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop, Pillager, Jackson County Central, New London-Spicer, Dover-Eyota, Cedar Mountain-Comfrey/Wabasso, Cannon Falls, Red Lake, Norman County East/Hawley, and St. James.

The Rebels faced St. James in the first round and were leading 33-15 at the halfway mark. The team scoring was fairly even. The young Rebels won 60-21.

Four teams got a bye in the first round but MLWR was not one of them so they had to play four games to win the tournament. Their second game was against Norman County East /Hawley. Their team was very tall but the Rebel defense was intense. Rebels' shooting skills were right on. At halftime, it was Rebels 29 NCE/Hawley 12. MLWR ended the game winning 48-26.


Their next game was against the Red Lake Warriors. The Warriors were big and strong. This should have been the championship game because of all the excitement. At halftime, Red Lake led 35-23. The Rebels fell behind as much as 18 points. They never gave up and kept on fighting to get the ball back until they caught up. At the end of regulation time the score was tied 56-56. At the end of the first two-minute over time the score remained tied 60 to 60. So it went into the second two-minute overtime. Rebels got ahead and the Warriors had to foul them to try and get the ball back. Carter Johnson and Mason Olson hit all five of their free throws in the second overtime and Brady Watrin made two layups. At the buzzer, it was MLWR 68 Red Lake 64. Olson led with 27 points, Watrin 19, Phillip Sheetz 13, Sam Dewey seven, and Johnson two. There was a huge crowd that gathered to watch all the excitement. This win got them into the championship game.

In their fourth game, to win the championship, they took on New London-Spicer. The Wildcats had defeated Dover-Eyota, Jackson County Central, and Zumbrota-Mazeppa to get to the championship game. At the break, it was Rebels 29 and Wildcats 25. The Rebels continued to gain on them and won 52-37. They each received a medal and the team received a trophy basketball that they all can sign and put in the trophy case. It was a good day for the Rebels basketball program.


 

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