Sports roundup: Dec. 6
By: LaReesa Sandretsky, Lake County News Chronicle
Silver Bay boys’ basketball team aims for growth
The Silver Bay boys’ basketball team met a tough opponent in its season opener against Mesabi Academy. The Mariners lost last Friday’s game to the Range team by a score of 88-36.
“We were just overmatched,” Head Coach Rick Frericks said.
This year the Silver Bay boys have only one returning starter, senior Kyle Blood, who will be playing wherever the team needs him most, Frericks said. Blood was part of a strong, experienced team last year and is a fourth-year starter.
But this season, with most of the players starting at the varsity level for the first time, their relative inexperience will be the biggest challenge, said the coach, and they’ll have to be quick studies if they hope to compete against teams with more seasoned players.
“The guys are going to have to step up quickly,” he said.
Practices will focus on improving overall skill, but there’s no substitute for actual games to introduce players to the speed of varsity play, Frericks said. The game-day court will be a baptism by fire for the players.
“It’s going to be a growing process this year, but it gets a little easier when you get more experience,” he added.
After 15 years of coaching basketball, however, Frericks knows basketball skills aren’t the only thing his players are learning. Whether they have a tough year or a successful one, the players are learning teamwork and how to win—or lose—with grace.
“Winning is nice, but what’s more important is building character. It’s a good venue to learn about yourself. I want the kids to have fun and we have to keep a positive attitude and improve and help each other out,” he said.
The Mariners squad plays tonight in their home gym at 4:45 p.m.
Silver Bay girls’ basketball starts off on a high note
The Silver Bay girls’ basketball team won its first game of the season against Fond du Lac on Monday. Head Coach Dan Johnson, who started his coaching career at Fond du Lac, was happy to start off the season on a high note.
“We played together well,” he said.
The girls out-played Fond du Lac by a score of 48-29. Senior Alicia Nopola, a force to be reckoned with at six feet, two inches tall, scored more than half of the team’s points, finishing the game with 25. Sophomore Tara Dow also had a strong game, racking up 11 points.
In addition to Nopola and Dow, Johnson said he’s counting on a few returning starters to step up on the court: senior Jackie Larson, Alicia’s sister, junior Brandi Nopola and sophomore Kayla Maleski.
“They’ve all been playing together for a couple of years,” Johnson said.
The girls are coming off of a rebuilding year—they finished last season with a 2-23 record. Johnson said that the numbers don’t tell the whole story, though. At the beginning of last season, they were losing some games by 50 or 60 points, but by the end they had significantly reduced that spread.
After focusing on fundamentals last season, Johnson said that this year he is working on offensive and defensive plays during practice. He added that some of the girls put in extra effort during the off-season, with many attending camps and working out to stay fit.
“We put in a lot of time. Hopefully we can turn those fundamentals into team play,” Johnson said. “We want to be taken seriously and we want to stay positive as a team.”
Two Harbors girls’ basketball starts with one win, one loss
The Lady Agates started their season with a game against a strong Cloquet team last Thursday and suffered a 29-67 loss.
“They’ve got some very talented kids,” Head Coach Chris Lemke said of the Lumberjacks.
The Two Harbors girls kept their heads up after the game and focused their attention on improving their strategy for the next night’s at-home match against Marshall--an effort that paid off.
“They came out really sharp and excited,” Lemke said.
Overall, the girls sank almost 50 percent of their shots which translated to a 44-22 win. Junior Krista Keranen scored 16 points in the first half alone and junior Lane Schraufnagel had a great rebound game, Lemke said. Sophomore guard Briana Stuberud had eight assists.
Winning on their home turf gave the girls some confidence, but, Lemke said, there are still some areas in need of improvement. The team’s greatest weakness is turnovers, many of which are passes gone wrong. To remedy the problem Lemke has the girls working hard at connecting their passes and improving ball handling during practices.
“We’ve got some specific goals for turnovers (in the upcoming games.) We’re really looking to get that number smaller,” Lemke said.
The girls played at Proctor on Tuesday, Carlton on Thursday and they are preparing for a home game against Ely on Saturday at 1 p.m.
According to initial state basketball polls, top boys’ teams are Apple Valley, DeLaSalle, Litchfield and Maranatha Christian Academy. Top girls’ teams are Hopkins, Richfield, Providence Academy and Maranatha.
Also on the sports calendar
The Two Harbors boys’ basketball team kicks off its season this week and the Nordic ski team has its first meet this weekend. Stay tuned for updates on the sports teams, watch for pictures from the Two Harbors choir concert and learn about the Wm. Kelley and Two Harbors robotics teams next week in the News-Chronicle.