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

By Irishdew
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Varsity wins consolation championship at Duluth East


August 1, 2019


(Left to right) Front Row: Phillip Sheetz, Connor Welch, Sam Dewey, Mason Olson, Carter Johnson, Michael Olson and Luke Dewey. Back Row: Ben Dewey, Duane Broughton, Brady Watrin, Logan Orvedahl, Landin Kurhajetz, and Alex Watrin.

Moose Lake Willow River boys' varsity basketball team won the consolation championship (4 wins, 2 losses) at the Twin Ports Summer Jam in the Duluth East High School on July 22-23. Duluth East Greyhounds head coach, Rhett McDonald, stated "Basketball teams are made from November to March. Basketball players are made from March to November....To have an opportunity like this to have everyone here to play against is great and it helps along the journey."

Fourteen schools were participating: Duluth Denfeld, Duluth East, Esko, North Branch, Hermantown, Cambridge-Isanti, Superior, Cloquet, Nashwauk-Keewatin, Princeton, Northwestern (Maple Wisc.) NCE-UL (Norman County East-Ulen Hitterdal), MACCRAY (Maynard, Clara City Raymond), and Moose Lake Willow River.

The first day, the teams were divided up into three groups of pool play games. MLWR Rebels (7AA) faced Hermantown (7AAA), coached by Andy Fenske, in their first game at 8:00 a.m. The Rebels had played the Hermantown Hawks three times in their summer league games and were the winners three times. At the half, MLWR led 27-24 and were ahead the entire game. The Hawks had a player that doesn't play summer league. He had seven points in the first half but the second half was a different story. He ended the game with 31, over half of the team's points. The Rebels were ahead until the buzzer. Hermantown won with a last second basket, 58-57.

The Rebels' second game was against Cambridge-Isanti Bluejackets coached by Mike McDonald. They defeated Duluth East by three in their Section 7AAAA semifinals last season and lost to Hopkins and Eastview in the state tournament. The Rebels came out strong. Their intense defense kept them in the game, but they were down by seven at the half, 35-28. The game ended with a Cambridge-Isanti 11 point victory, 68-57.

The Rebels' last game of the day was against the Nashwauk-Keewatin Spartans (7A). They were 17-7 last season and were coming into the game with two losses earlier in the day. MLWR started strong, leading at the half 32-21 and winning the game 70-48.

Tuesday, the Rebels won all three of their games and the consolation championship. Rebels played the Duluth Denfeld Hunters (7AAA), coached by Mike Devney, in their first game of the day. MLWR was ready and started out strong, leading at the half 36-20. They finished the game with a decisive victory 71-49. One of the guards for Denfeld had 31 of Denfeld's 49 points.

Their second contest was the 7AAA Cloquet Lumberjacks coached by Steve Battaglia. In the first half, their play was fairly even and at half-time Cloquet led 22-21. The second half was a different story. The Rebels' shots started falling in and they won 66-37. Cloquet had three injured starters in street clothes on the end of their bench and the Rebels had two injured players in street clothes on the end of their bench.

The final tournament game for the consolation championship was against Northwestern. At the half, Northwestern led 35-32. But MLWR kept up their defense and kept fighting back, winning the game 63-57.

Mike McDonald's Cambridge-Isanti Bluejackets won 53-39 in the overall championship game against the Duluth East Greyhounds coached by his son, Rhett.


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