VIRGINIA — The 16-5 Virginia boys’ basketball team matched up with the 17-4 North Woods team on Thursday night in a close back and forth game that went down to the wire.
The Blue Devils took advantage of their height inside the lane and came away with an 82-75 win over a tough Grizzlies squad.
The game turned out to be a game of runs for both squads.
The Blue Devils had the first run of the game when in the first half when they broke open an 8-8 game and went on a 17-0 run. They were led by Mason Carlson with a pair of three-pointers, and Jayden Bernard with a three-pointer and a layup.
“That was a nice run in that first half,” Blue Devils coach Derek Aho said. “We were moving the ball around and that led to some easy baskets and our defense was solid.”
North Woods stopped the scoring run when junior Darius Goggleye made a lay up to make it a 19-10 game.
The game got close in a hurry when the Grizzlies went on a scoring streak of their own.
TJ Chiabotti got hot from the field and hit four straight buckets for North Woods and quickly, it was a 25-22 contest.
“That TJ is an unreal player out there,” Aho said. “If you are not right on him defensively, he will make you pay.”
The teams traded baskets until Blue Devils senior Jayden Bernard got a rebound and put it in and followed it up with a three-pointer to make it a 40-31 Virginia lead.
Chiabotti made a layup as time ran out in the half with Virginia leading, 42-35.
“We didn’t give up in that half when we fell behind,” North Woods coach Will Kleppe said. “We kept fighting out there.”
Kyle Williams led Virginia in that half with 13 points while Chiabotti had 14 for the Grizzlies.
North Woods came out in the second half and scored six quick points to make it a one point game.
Virginia then went on another run, this time a 14-0 run. Bernard, Nick Peters and Joe Hafdahl all hit big shots and the Grizzlies took a time out with 14:00 to play, trailing 54-41.
“I told then during the time out that we were not done yet,” Kleppe said. “I know these guys.”
Virginia added another bucket after the time out. Goggleye stopped the run by making a pair of free throws.
Jack Toman scored back to back buckets to add to the Virginia lead and make it a 17-point game but the Grizzlies fought to get back in the game.
Chiabotti hit a three-pointer and three free throws and Morrison made a lay up and added a free throw. The Blue Devils lead was down to eight points.
North Woods continued to fight and used a Chiabotti jumper, a Morrison bucket, followed by a Chiabotti three-pointer to tie things up at 69.
“Like I said, I knew they wouldn’t quit,” Kleppe said.”
Bernard scored two quick buckets to give the Blue Devils a 73-69 lead.
The teams then traded buckets but the Blue Devils managed to hold the Grizzlies off in the end.
“I will tell you that they are an outstanding team,” Aho said. “They gave us everything they had out there.”
Bernard led the Blue Devils with 21 points, while Williams added 18.
Virginia will host Hibbing on Tuesday.
Chiabotti led the 17-5 Grizzlies with 33 points, while Morrison had 18 before fouling out.
North Woods will host Mesabi East, today.
“This sure was a great game tonight,” Kleppe said. “I am proud of my guys.”
NW 35 40 — 75
VA 42 40 — 82
NW: Darius Goggleye 8, Jared Chiabotti 6, TJ Chiabotti 33, Brenden Chiabotti 6, Levi Byram 4, Trevor Morrison 18; Three-pointers: TJ Chiabotti 3, Brenden Chiabotti 2, Jared Chiabotti 1; Free throws: 15-21; Total fouls: 18; Fouled out: Goggleye, Morrison.
VA: Joe Hafdahl 6, Nick Peters 15, Jack Toman 6, Jayden Bernard 21, Mason Carlson 16, Kyle Williams 18; Three-pointers: Hafdahl 2, Bernard 2, Carlson 2; Free throws: 12-23; Total fouls: 18; Fouled out: none.
Mesabi East 66,
At Aurora, the Mesabi East girls’ basketball team picked up the defensive intensity in the second half to help take down visiting Cherry, 66-47.
Ava Hill poured in 32 points to lead all scorers in the contest. Giants teammate Hannah Hannuksela finished with 18. Mia Mattfield added 12.
Cherry was paced by LAuren Staples with 12 and Jessa Schroetter with 10.
“I think we picked things up when we got a little more intense on defense in the second half,” said Mesabi East head coach Chris Whiting. “We held them down and had a little patience on offense and started controlling the boards a little bit better. We were down early 6-0 and the n17-8 but the girls played steady and got it back bit by bit instead of trying to get back in it one just one shot.”
Mesabi East (20-4) will travel to Two Harbors on Tuesday. Cherry (17-5) will travel to Cromwell-Wright on Tuesday.
ME 37 29 — 66
CHS 30 17 — 47
Cherry: Katie Peterson 8, Lauren Staples 12, Karlee Grondahl 8, Andi Selkow 2, Danielle Clement 2, Kaelynn Kudis 5, Jessa Schroetter 10; Three pointers: Staples 1; Free throws: 10-17; Total fouls: 17; fouled out: none.
Mesabi East: Ava Hill 32, Meghan Walker 2, Hanna Hannuksela 18, Kora Forsline 2, Mia Mattfield 12; Three pointers: Hill 2, Hannuksela 1; Free throws: 19-21; Total fouls: 15; Fouled out: none.
Mountain Iron-Buhl 98,
At Bigfork, the Mountain Iron-Buhl girls’ basketball team cruised to a 98-21 win over Bigfork.
Jordan Zubich led the Rangers with 24 points. Sage Ganyo added 16. Thirteen Rangers scored in the win for MI-B with eight of them knocking down three pointers.
Natalie Haley paced the Huskies with 11 points.
MI-B (17-6) will take on Maranatha Christian Academy on Saturday in Brooklyn Park.
MIB 69 29 — 98
BHS 4 17 — 21
Mountain Iron-Buhl: Laney Ryan 3, Hali Savela 8, Jordan Zubich 24, Brooke Niska 8, Miah Gelelrstedt 5, Sage Ganyo 16, Angel Moore 5, Mia Ganyo 8, Ava Butler 6, Suzy Aubrey 2, Zoe Bialczak 3, Desi Milton 6, Lauren Maki 4; Three pointers: Zubich 4, Niska 2, Gellerstedt 1, S. Ganyo 2, Moore 1, M. Ganyo 2, Bialczak 1, Milton 2; Free throws: 11-13; Total fouls: 16; Fouled out: none.
Bigfork: Kristen Grover 2, Natalie Haley 11, Matayah Simonson 4, Aurora Watson 2, Sam Lambrecht 2; Three pointers: None; Free throws: 9-16; Total fouls: 13; Fouled out: none.
North Woods 29
At Cook, Ely’s Madeline Perry led all scorers with 15 points as the Timberwolves dropped North Woods, 44-29.
The visitors also got 12 points from Eika Mattson and 11 from Grace Latourell.
The Grizzlies were led by Sasha Strong with eight points.
North Woods (8-15) plays at Grand Rapids today, while Ely (15-7) closes out the regular season at South Ridge on Feb. 21.
Ely 15 29 — 44
N. Woods 15 14 — 29
Ely: Erika Mattson 12, Grace Latourell 11, Sarah Visser 4, Madeline Perry 15, Winter Sainio 2. 3-pointers: None. Free throws: 14-27. Total fouls: 11. Fouled out: None.
NW: Coley Olson 5, Hannah Kinsey 4, Kennedy Wardas 4, Brynn Simpson 6, Madison Spears 2, Sasha Strong 8. 3-pointers: Olson 1, Strong 2. Free throws: 4-14. Total fouls: 21. Fouled out: Simpson.
At Virginia, the Blue Devils held a slim 1-0 advantage over Greenway heading into the third period Thursday night, but three straight goals in the final period from the Raiders got the best of Virginia, as they fell 3-2.
Braden Tiedman scored the lone goal in the first period for the Devils on the pass from Brennan Peterson and Dillon Drake. The goal came at the 11:02 mark.
After both teams failed to add any goals in the second period, Greenway fired off three to take a late lead. The Devils answered back with a goal from Tom Nemanich (assisted by Peterson and Ryan Scherf) but that wasn’t enough as Greenway took home the win.
Devils goalie Tristan Pikula stopped 41 shots in the loss for Virginia.
Virginia (7-16-2) will travel to Coleraine on Tuesday to take on the Raiders once again, this time in the 7A quarterfinals.
GHS 0 0 3 — 3
VMIB 1 0 1 — 2
1, V, Braden Tiedeman (Brennan Peterson, Dillon Drake), 11:02.
2, G, Mitchell Vekich (Ben Troumbly, Brock Trboyevich), PP, 3:11; 3, G, Christian Miller (Troumbly), 8:29; 4, G, Micah Germander (MilleR), 12:00; 5, V, Tom Nemanich (Peterson, Ryan Scherf), 14:12.
Penalties-Minutes: GHS 1-2; VMIB 4-8.
Goalie saves: Logan Wright, G, 5-6-4—15; Tristan Pikula, V, 11-17-13—41.