Like waves pounding a shoreline, the Rush City boys basketball team relentlessly harassed and harangued Braham when the two teams met in the Bombers’ home gym on Friday, Dec. 10.

And in the same way those waves eventually wear down the shore, the Tigers outscored the home team 35-14 in the second half to claim a 62-37 victory.

“They are very athletic – they’re probably the most athletic team in the conference,” Braham coach Jeff Eklund said of Rush City. “We had three guys who were sick this morning, so we’re battling some things, just trying to get healthy.

“I’m proud of the way our guys fought; we always played hard. But in the second half we just got tired.”

And Rush City took advantage with a defense effort that brought a smile to the face of coach Tryg Thompson.

“There were times we had success with our press, but we also had success with our half-court defense,” he said. “And you need to get a rebound after a miss. That was a good team we played, but I thought this was one of our best defensive performances – this year or last year.

“[Braham] was running a weave, and we were making switches easily and communicating well. We tried to force baseline, and the help was there when we forced baseline. And we had great effort.”

The first half was close throughout, with Rush City using a late run to create a 27-19 lead, only to see the Bombers get several baskets that closed the gap to 27-23 at halftime.

But the Tigers started pulling away quickly in the second half, using a couple of steals to create layups and lead 33-23 less than three minutes in. By the 7:40 mark of the second half Rush City had expanded its advantage to 49-36, and the Tigers never let up.

“We work on defense a lot in practice, but I think our kids were super-motivated for this game,” Thompson said. “You wonder at times if kids are going to lose an edge, but our kids are super-tough. They want to compete.

“Offensively I didn’t think our kids shot the ball particularly well, but you could see our kids gaining confidence in their shots.”

Meanwhile the Bombers were able, at times, to create scoring opportunities with drives to the basket, but simply missed too many shots in the paint to keep pace with Rush City.

“That’s a credit to Rush City: They play nine or 10 guys, and it just wears you down,” Eklund said. “We are turning the ball over too much, but I think we’re getting better. We struggle with shots at times, but that’s a matter of putting in time in the gym – if someone wants to be a great shooter, they have to put up thousands of shots.”

Junior Tony Daas led three Tigers in double figures with 17 points. Senior Ty Stepp finished with 15, while senior Lucas McFee added 12 as Rush City improved to 2-0 on the season. The team crushed Ogilvie 72-33 in its opener on Tuesday, Dec. 7.

Sophomore Braden Grams topped the Bombers with 17 points, while junior Caleb Schusted collected 11 as Braham fell to 1-3 on the season. The team pounded Floodwood 86-56 on Monday, Dec. 6, in a game where 11 players scored and four reached double figures.

Schusted led the way in the Floodwood victory with 21 points, while Grams scored 14, sophomore Jake Tepley had 13, and senior John Mankie finished with 12.

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