By Shawn Bode
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Rebels 6th grade boys win in Hibbing


March 14, 2019

The premiere basketball tournament for 6th grade boys in northeast Minnesota since the 1970s was held in Chisholm under the guidance of legendary 1,000 career win coach Bob McDonald. His Bluestreaks would often have 100 point games, he won state titles, and he had several sons star on his teams. His youngest son Joel was probably the best, graduating in 1991 as Minnesota's all time leading scorer with 3,292 points. He followed his high school career with a conference MVP senior season at St. Cloud State. In 2000 Joel took over as the Hibbing high school coach, and as his father's coaching career was winding down, Joel took the reins by having Hibbing host the area's top 6th grade tourney. The Rebels 2019 team was looking to be the first from MLWR to win this tournament in its 17 year history. This would require four consecutive wins in the twelve team field.

The Rebels started hot in the opener, defeating the Ely Timberwolves 64-17. A balanced attack saw Eli Youngs score 17, Levi Mikrot 13, Reese Bode 12, Elliott Wasche 10, Dawson Kracke 8, and Charlie Rigleman 4 points. Bode was the leading rebounder with 10 and Mikrot tops in assists with 5. Game two saw the Rebels jump out to a 10-0 lead against the Mora Mustangs, but from there it was a tough physical defensive match-up, with the Rebels prevailing 39-26. Just Youngs with 13 and Kracke with 11 hit double figures. Mikrot had 11 rebounds and Youngs 7 steals.

The semi-final game pitted the Rebels against host Hibbing. The Rebels' running game turned up as they took a 32-16 half-time lead and coasted to a 59-39 victory. Levi Mikrot had a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Eli Youngs kicked in 16 points and 6 assists, Elliott Wasche had 9 rebounds to go with 5 points, Dawson Kracke was 4-4 shooting and scored 9, Reese Bode had 8, and Charlie Rigleman and Chet Giersdorf-Thompson each scored 2 in the win. This put the young Rebels in the championship against a team they had not yet seen this year, the Northwoods Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies were led by a 5'8" strong 180 pound center. Making it difficult was that the Rebels' center and best match up for the large Grizzly, Levi Mikrot, was getting sick as the day went on. The Rebels countered by playing their best backside help defense and turning up the running game to take a 28-15 lead at the half. Continuing to run in the second half and some good shooting frustrated and tired the Grizzlies. Elliott Wasche and Eli Youngs were standouts on the defensive side. Youngs also led the Rebels with 21 points, Wasche scored 10, Bode 8, Rigleman 7, Mikrot 5, and Kracke 4. Wasche had 8 boards and Mikrot 7. Kracke, Bode, and Mikrot had 3 assists. Youngs had 6 steals and Wasche 3. The Rebels, now 33-0, ended victorious 55-27 over the Grizzlies and will now be adorned on the program cover with all past champions of the Hibbing tournaments since 2003.

Next up for the Rebels 6th graders will be a date at the 1st annual Rebels Classic on March 17 in Willow River in a sixth grade tourney. This Sunday will also include the Rebels 7th and 8th graders in a 7/8 tourney. Games will start at 9 am with 6th grade finals at 4 pm, and 7/8th grade finals at 5 pm. The Rebels 4th and 5th graders will play in their grades' tourneys, also in Willow River starting at 9 am but with final games at 3 pm, on Saturday March 16. Come and watch teams from Grand Rapids, Hibbing, Cloquet, Cromwell, Staples-Motley, Park Center, Superior, International Falls, Paynesville, Crosby-Ironton, Walker, Mora, and Duluth Denfeld among the 29 teams coming to Willow River, where 3 games can be played simultaneously, this weekend.


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