MOUNTAIN IRON — A pair of very good girls basketball teams got together in Mountain Iron on Thursday night with the 17-3 Cherry Tigers came to meet the 18-4 Rangers.
The Rangers fell behind in the contest and came back to pick up a 76-58 win, on the strength of senior Allie Negen’s 25 points.
Mountain Iron-Buhl grabbed a early lead in the first half when Miah Gellerstedt hit a jumper and Brooke Niska hit a deep 3-point jumper to give the Rangers an early 12-6 lead.
That lead didn’t last long as the Tigers picked up a 3-pointer from Karlee Grondahl and a deep 3-pointer from Kaelynn Kudis to give the Tigers a 16-15 lead.
“We fell behind but battled right back,” Cherry coach Tim Sauter said. “Mountain Iron is an experienced team and we knew that coming in, so we had to play our game to stay with them.”
Negen took the lead away from Cherry, hitting a 2-point jumper and a 3-pointer to give MI-B a 21-16 lead.
The teams went and traded buckets throughout the rest of the half with Tigers sophomore Jessalyn Schroetter getting hot from the field, on her way to 17 first half points to keep the Cherry in the game.
Negen ended the half with 13 to lead the Rangers as they held a 40-33 lead.
“That was a back and forth first half,” Rangers coach Jeff Buffetta said. “We picked up too many fouls and started to get in some early foul trouble.”
The Tigers picked up a pair of buckets to open the second half to cut the Rangers lead to just three.
Then, the Cherry offense started to get red-hot.
They went on a 10-0 run to grab a 49-42 lead and forcing Buffetta to take a time out.
Coming out of the time out Negen and Madisen Overbye each hit a bucket and the Tigers lead was cut to three points.
The Rangers continued to put defensive pressure on the Tigers, which led to turnovers and easy MI-B baskets.
Mattison Bennett hit a pair of free throws to cut the Tigers lead to just one point and Negen hit a jumper to give the Rangers a lead that they would not give up.
“We fell behind seven points,” Buffetta said. “I really like the way we battled to come back.”
The Tigers tried to get back in to the game but the long jumpers were just not falling in.
“It wasn’t a great night for us from the field,” Sauter said. “We did some good things but it just wasn’t enough tonight against Mountain Iron.”
The Rangers passed the ball around on offense to run the clock down and the horn blew, moving the Rangers to 19-4 on the season.
“We started to get a little tired out there,” Buffetta said. “We still have some things to work on, but the win tonight was a good one.”
Brooke Niska and Overbye each had 13 for MI-B along with Negen’s 25.
The Rangers will travel to meet Virginia on Monday, a team they haven’t faced in quite a few years.
“That is our neighbor school,” Buffetta said. “We should play them every year.”
Schroetter ended the contest with 23 to lead the Tigers, who fell to 17-4 with the loss and will travel to Hibbing on Tuesday.
“It doesn’t get any easier on Tuesday,” Sauter said. “Hibbing is also a very good team. We have to be ready to play.”
CHS 33 25 — 58
MIB 40 36 — 76
CHS: Kaitlyn Peterson 4, Lauren Staples 6, Karlee Grondahl 15, Kaelynn Kudis 10, Jessalyn Schroetter 23; Three pointers: Staples 1, Grondahl 1, Kudis 1; Free throws: 13-17; Total fouls: 16; Fouled out: None
MIB: Macy Savela 3, Brooke Niska 13, Miah Gellerstedt 5, Allie Negen 25, Sage Ganyo 5, Madisen Overbye 13, Mia Ganyo 5, Mattison Bennett 7; Three pointers Negen 4, Brooke Niska 2, Sage Ganyo 1, Overbye 1, Mia Ganyo 1; Free throws 9-17; Total fouls: 19; Fouled out none;
Mesabi East 72,
At Aurora, the Mesabi East girls’ basketball team held Ely to just 13 points in the second half as they finished off the Timberwolves by a score of 72-40.
Ava Hill led all scorers in the contest with 31 points for Mesabi East. Hannah Hannuksela finished with 20.
Erika Mattson was the leading scorer for Ely with 19 points.
Ely will host Eveleth-Gilbert on saturday while Mesabi East hosts Bigfork on Tuesday.
Ely 27 13 — 40
ME 40 32 — 72
Ely: Lida Dodge 2, Erika Mattson 19, Brielle Kallberg 8, Grace LaTourell 5, Brynn Vollom 2, Winter Sainio 2, Ande Visser 2; Three pointers: Mattson 3, LaTourell 1; Free throws: 6-11; Total fouls: 9; Fouled out: none.
Mesabi East: Ava Hill 31, Meghan Walker 5, Hannah Hannuksela 20, Kora Forsline 7, Kailey Fossell 4, Emily Reid 1, Mia Mattfield 4; Three pointers: Hill 3, Walker 1, Hannuksela 3; Free throws:9-13; Total fouls: 15; Fouled out: none.