North Branch got off the mark in 2020 with wins on back-to-back evenings, beating Superior (Wis.) 6-2 on Thursday, Jan. 3, and Chisago Lakes 5-2 on Friday, Jan. 3. Both games were played in the Vikings’ borrowed home arena at Chisago Lakes, but the latter was considered the “away” half of the annual two-game Viking-Wildcat series.
Cody Croal and Joey Kerchner each scored twice in the interstate victory, while Matt DeKanick and Lawton Garin scored one goal each. The Viking defense allowed goaltender Jake Turek to enjoy a quiet evening: He needed only to save 16 shots to preserve the victory. In the latest running of the shared-arena rivalry, Kerchner scored two goals again, and so did Tucker Sachs. DeKanick claimed the odd goal. The victory ran the Vikings’ season record to 11-3-0.
Cambridge-Isanti posted a 1-2 record in the Silver Division of the Herb Brooks Classic played Dec. 30 through Jan. 2. The Bluejackets lost to Mahtomedi 6-1, then fell to Minneapolis 6-1 before rebounding to knock off Delano/Rockford 5-2.
C-I returned home to beat Moose Lake Area 6-2 on Friday, Jan. 3, thanks to a five-goal outburst in the third period that was fueled by four goals by Chloe Nelson.
The Bluejackets then finished the week with a 7-1 loss to Champlin Park/Coon Rapids that gives them a season’s record of 8-9-0 overall.
Also in the Herb Brooks Classic was St. Francis/North Branch, which finished as consolation champions in the Bronze Bracket. On Monday, Dec. 30, the Saints were edged by Eveleth-Gilbert, 2-1. Over the next two days, the Saints got wins over North Shore (3-0) and Marshall (2-1). The trophy-clinching win came in overtime on a goal by Abygail Spitzer, after Olivia Anderson had claimed a tally in the second period.
In goal, Laura Boersma stopped 23 of 24 shots she faced.
The Saints also lost a 5-1 home decision against former section rival Duluth on Friday, Jan. 3, moving their record to 3-13-0.
Cambridge-Isanti improved to 8-1 on the season by claiming a 78-70 road victory over Section 7 rival Blaine on Friday, Jan. 3.
Henry Abraham continued his dazzling senior season by making seven 3-pointers on the way to 30 points in the contest, adding seven assists, six steals and four rebounds.
Abraham had help in the victory: Connor Braaten poured in 27 points and added six rebounds, while Micah contributed 10 points, seven assists and five boards.
North Branch was beaten at Hibbing 76-48 on Saturday, Jan. 4, dropping the Vikings’ record to 3-5.
Trevor Johnson led the way with 14 points, while Drew VanEerden and Carter Whitman each scored 8 and Carson Klein added 7.
Braham opened the new year with a 59-38 loss to Pierz on Friday, Jan. 3, a setback that dropped its season’s record to 3-6.
That sets the stage for a busy week of basketball for the Bombers, who faced Great River Conference rivals Rush City on Tuesday, Jan. 7, after press time, and will head to Hinckley-Finlayson two days later before hosting Upsala in a non-conference contest on Saturday, Jan. 11. Next week, it’s back to conference battles, starting with a contest against Aitkin on Tuesday, Jan. 14.
Cambridge-Isanti saw a comeback fall just short in a 78-73 loss at Becker on Friday, Jan. 3.
The Bluejackets had four players finish in double figures, led by a 19-point effort from Amme Sheforgen. Jana Swanson finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds, while Makayla Aumer also had 18 points and Jackie Olander contributed 13 points and eight assists.
North Branch played one game last week, a 55-39 defeat at Grand Rapids on Friday, Jan. 3.
Paige Peaslee led the offensive effort with 13 points, while Megan Bunes (11) and Maddie Helin (8) were also among the top contributors. The team collected 39 total rebounds, with Peaslee creating a double-double by grabbing 12. Kate Carlson picked up 11 and also led the Vikings in steals (4) and assists (3). The Vikings were 7-3 as of press time.
Rush City was beaten 87-28 on the road by defending Section 6AA champion Albany on Friday, Jan. 3, dropping the Tigers’ record to 1-6. In Great River Conference play, the Tigers stand 1-2.
Cambridge-Isanti finished fourth of 16 teams at the MGJA Invitational held in Faribault, a tight competition in which the top five teams all finished within 1 point of one another.
The Bluejackets excelled on the uneven bars, where their 34.75 team score was the best in the meet, and in the floor exercise, where they 36.7 mark was the program’s highest total in two seasons.
Senior AnnaGrace Nelson finished 10th in the all-around competition with a 35.8 and took sixth on the bars with a 9.0 mark, while sophomore Laci Leverty tied for eighth in the floor exercise with a 9.4 score.
Cambridge-Isanti gave Mississippi 8 rival Chisago Lakes a battle before falling by a 102-84 score on Thursday, Jan. 2, then finished sixth at the Spring Lake Park Invitational two days later.
The Bluejackets flew out of the blocks quickly in the dual against Chisago Lakes, taking first place in three of the first four events as the 200-yard medley relay of Mitchell Patrick, Eli Bingham, Zach Melby and Christopher Williams won with a time of 1:51.38, followed by wins by Bingham in the 200 IM (2:16.75) and Patrick in the 50 free (23.79).
Other winners for C-I were Melby in the 100 fly (1:04.20) and 100 back (1:07.23), Patrick in the 500 free (5:45.08), and Bingham in the 100 breast (1:07.79).
Bingham then put together an impressive performance at the Spring Lake Park Invitational, taking fourth in the 100 fly with a time of 1:00.83 while placing fifth in the 100 breast with a 1:08.29 clocking.
Rush City-Braham finished in eighth place at the Mora Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 4, earning 57 points.
The team’s top finisher was Landon Umbriet, whose 9-0 major decision over Ethan Lane of Thief River Falls gave him third place at 126. Junior Masyn Londgren placed fourth at 195 and sophomore Austin Sterling took fourth at 285.
RCB also got sixth-place finishes from eighth graders Gavon Schroeder at 113 and Isaak Coolidge at 120, along with sophomore Luke Gould at 132.