The North Branch boys basketball team continued its strong start to the season by winning the Breakdown Granite City Tournament held in St. Cloud Dec. 29-30.

The Vikings opened with a 70-69 victory over Delano on Wednesday, Dec. 29. Senior Trevor Johnson led the way with 26 points, while seniors Logan Murphy and Travis Schoerberl added 14 and 11 points, respectively.

“This was a big win against a great program,” coach Todd Dufault said. “We led the entire game, took care of the ball and went 9-for-9 from the free-throw line in the last minutes of the game to seal the win.”

The next night North Branch beat Southwest Christian 83-57 as 12 different players scored. Senior Adam Rehm had 15 points to lead the Vikings, who improved to 8-1 on the season, while Schoerberl added 14.

“What a great way to finish up before the new year: It was a big win, everyone got to play, and everyone contributed,” Dufault said. “I was so proud of our defense in the first half, giving up 14 points. It didn’t matter who was playing, the effort and energy on defense set the tone for the entire game.”

The Cambridge-Isanti boys basketball team found the going difficult at the Twin Cities Orthopedics Holiday Classic hosted by Augsburg College Dec. 28-30. The Bluejackets lost all three of its games in the tournament, starting with an 83-64 loss to Minneapolis Southwest despite 16 points from junior Kobe Karels and sophomore John Troolin as well as 10 from senior Reese Bickford.

The following afternoon the Bluejackets fell to Duluth East 63-45, with senior Braden Jones scoring 15 points while Bickford and senior Colton Skoglund added 11 apiece.

In the seventh-place game on Thursday, Dec. 30, Cambridge-Isanti led 30-29 at halftime and trailed by only 4 points with six minutes to play, but fell short in a 69-58 loss to St. Paul Johnson. Karels led the team with 21 points, while Jones scored 17 and Bickford added 12.

“When our shots aren’t going down, at times it translates to poor defense as well,” coach Mike McDonald said. “We’ve played good in spots, sometimes for a few possessions and sometimes for an entire half.

“But we need to develop a stronger will to win. We have to be a little tougher at both ends of the court down the stretch.”

McDonald said the three tournament losses, which dropped Cambridge-Isanti’s record to 0-8 for the year, were a microcosm of the team’s season.

“We’ve had many games where we have a lead or are tied at halftime, and in the second half we just give it up,” he said. “We have to figure out what it’s going to take to instill that will to win.”

The Braham boys hoops squad also lost twice last week to extend its current losing streak to four straight. The Bombers dropped a 65-26 decision to Barnum on Tuesday, Dec. 28, before falling at Lakeview Christian by a 57-51 score the following evening.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Cambridge-Isanti swept two games at the Granite City Classic last week to extend its current winning streak to five straight.

The Bluejackets opened the tournament with a 57-52 victory over Alexandria on Wednesday, Dec. 29, as the Wiltrout twins combined for 32 points and 20 rebounds.

Maraya Wiltrout finished with 20 points and seven rebounds, while Evelyn Wiltrout added 12 points and 13 boards. Senior Mikayla Aumer also finished in double figures with 12 points.

The next afternoon C-I pounded Anoka 74-48 thanks in part to a big game by Aumer, who finished with 34 points, seven assists, five steals and three rebounds. Maraya Wiltrout posted a double-double thanks to 19 points and 11 rebounds, while sophomore Haylie Jerde added 9 points.

BOYS HOCKEY

Cambridge-Isanti extended its current win streak to seven straight games with a pair of wins in games played up north last week.

The Bluejackets started their successful road trip with a 4-1 victory at Greenway on Wednesday, Dec. 29. Junior Finn Overby and senior Jack Brown had second-period goals that gave C-I a 2-1 advantage; sophomores Will O’Donovan and Seth Terhell scored in the third period to help the Bluejackets pull away.

Freshman Jaxon Sibell stopped all but one of the 33 shots he faced that day to earn the victory.

The next day Cambridge-Isanti scored three times in the final period to knock off Hibbing/Chisholm 5-2.

Senior Wyatt Lindell, Terhell and junior Kaden Schibilla notched the third-period goals for the Bluejackets, with senior Jaxon Jones scoring in the first and O’Donovan finding the net in the second. Sibell finished with 18 saves to claim the win.

Northern Edge posted a 2-1 record to take fifth place in the Silver Division of the Herb Brooks Holiday Classic played at the National Sports Center Dec. 27-20.

Northern Edge opened with a 6-1 loss to Simley on Monday, Dec. 27, with junior Owen Dubois scoring in the final 30 seconds in the second period after Simley had scored four times in that frame. Senior Jake Kolb made 16 saves for Northern Edge in that contest.

The team rebounded to pound Marshall 7-2 the next day, scoring three goals in the opening period before blowing the game open with a four-goal barrage in the second. Senior Alex Langevin finished with a hat trick and added two assists to lead the offense, which also got goals from junior Cam Husby, senior Tyler Iacono, senior Carsen Thorson and senior Trever Ripley.

Kolb stopped 25 shots to earn the win over Marshall.

In the tournament’s fifth-place game the next day, Northern Edge scored four goals in the final period to double up Princeton 6-3. Ripley scored goals in the first and second periods, while Iacono and Thorson added goals in the third and junior Loghan Croal scored twice.

Kolb claimed the victory with 39 saves.

GIRLS HOCKEY

The Northern Tier Stars lost three matches in the Gold Division of the Herb Brooks Holiday Classic played at the National Sports Center Dec. 27-29.

The tournament began with a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Delano/Rockford on Monday, Dec. 27. Senior Meghan Gibb finished with 32 saves, but the Stars were unable to match the second-period goal Delano/Rockford scored that proved to be the difference.

The next day the Stars gave up three goals in the first and second periods of a 7-0 loss to Mounds View, and the Stars closed the tournament with a 6-2 loss to Western Wisconsin on Wednesday, Dec. 29. Freshman Natalie Cheney and senior Alexa Oliver scored for the Stars, while Gibb finished with three saves in one period of work while freshman Abigail Thurmer had 10 saves in the final two periods.

WRESTLING

Cambridge-Isanti finished third among the 15 teams that competed at the Eau Claire Holiday duals on Thursday, Dec. 30.

The Bluejackets swept three matches in Pool 3 at the tournament, beating Whitehall 69-12 before knocking off Eau Claire Memorial 70-12 and beating Maple Grove 51-28.

In the semifinals C-I lost to Simley, the top-ranked team in Class 2A, by a 65-0 count. But the Bluejackets responded with a 45-33 victory over Rocori to grab third place.

Among the top wrestlers for Cambridge-Isanti in the tournament were sophomore Leo Edblad, who went 4-1 at 113 pounds with two pins; freshman Jacob Henderson, who had four pins in his five matches at 160; and eighth grader Shawn Henderson, who had four pins in five matches at 195.

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