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Milaca’s Lewis Wolbert attempts an underhand shot during the Wolves’ 68-64 victory over Zimmerman on Jan. 7, on Milaca’s home court.

A win is a win.

It doesn’t matter the score, or how well the team played, being able to walk away victorious is a great thing for any program.

Despite struggling a bit in both contests for the Milaca boys basketball team, the Wolves were able to reign victorious over their opponents Foley and Zimmerman to open Granite Ridge play.

Starting with a 51-44 win over the Falcons on Jan. 4, on the road, Milaca followed it up with another single-digit victory over the Thunder three days later on their home court at 68-64.

Wolves’ Head Coach Kaleb Anderson was obviously happy to pick up the wins though desiring better showings from the Milaca team on the court. “We don’t necessarily love the way we won but if you look at some of the best teams across our section, they all have their down games. We scraped, did what we had to do, did not play well, but still snuck out with a couple wins,” said Anderson.

Starting their grind of a week was a Tuesday night trip to Foley’s gym to take on the Falcons in their first home game of the season in what would no doubt be a tough environment to play in for the Wolves.

What would ensue from Milaca and Foley would be a defensive battle with scoring coming at a premium for both squads.

Sitting at 16-16 with 3:43 remaining in the first half, the Wolves would find some distance from the Falcons, capped by junior forward, Trace Hasz floater in the lane to give Milaca a 24-18 lead going into the break.

Back for the second half, Foley would come out hard charging at the Wolves’ lead as just six minutes into the frame, the Falcons had overtaken Milaca for the 34-32 lead.

The two teams would battle back and forth, exchanging the lead as time winded down in the contest.

With 3:52 remaining in the contest, the Woves’ defense forced a fast break, capped by junior guard Peyton Hunt’s layup to give Milaca the lead for good as free throws down the stretch along with solid defense would salt away the win for the visiting team.

Anderson credited Foley for making it a defensive battle as the Wolves never quite found their rhythm on offense. “They made it a real scrappy and messy game and we shot by far some of our worst percentages of the season,” said Anderson, as Milaca was held to a season low in points while shooting at a 33.3 percent clip from the field for the game.

Hunt was able to lead the Wolves in scoring with 15 points while he was joined by junior point guard, Lewis Wolbert, who also added 15 points in the win.

Heading home with the victory, Milaca would then prepare for the Thunder.

Milaca rallies past Thunder

Returning to the court to take on Zimmerman, the Wolves looked to rebound from their offensive struggles against the Thunder.

Though Milaca was able to put up a respectable 35 points in the opening half, Zimmerman was able to take advantage of the Wolves from deep, hitting nine out of 12 attempts from distance to maintain a seven-point lead for the Thunder at half.

Milaca did not let that hot shooting by Zimmerman continue to the second half as a tweaked defensive effort led to the Thunder only hitting one more three-pointer for the rest of the contest while the Wolves’ were able to rally for the victory. “We made a couple of adjustments defensively and that was the trick. They only hit one three in the second half and that changed things,” said Anderson

Also key to the rally was an aggressive showing by Wolbert, who was able to get to the free throw line 12 times on the night, hitting 11 on his way to 23 points in the comeback win.

Hasz aided in the comeback effort as well with a double-double at 17 points and 10 rebounds for Milaca.

The victory was the Wolves’ third in a row.

Now sitting at 7-2 on the season, a busy week is up next for the Wolves.

Starting with a contest against Hinckley-Finlayson on Jan. 11, Milaca then hosted Kimball on Jan. 13, before traveling to Mora the next night for a big conference showdown against the Mustangs.

Keeping the drive high during the stretch will be instrumental to the team’s success said Anderson. “We want to make sure we have plenty of energy for the busy week.”

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