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Sports Roundup: Feb. 12

Leif Gilsvik recently competed at the Nordic skiing section meet at Giants Ridge. Submitted photo

The Cook County-Silver Bay girls Alpine ski team qualified for the state meet after winning sections last week at Giants Ridge.

Both sophomore Katie Smedstad and senior Ali Boettcher of Silver Bay are on the team.

At state Wednesday, Smedstad finished No. 50 individually at the meet while Boettcher finished No. 60. Overall the team finished in eighth place.

"We would not have been in first place [at sections] without them," said head coach Jim Vick.

Respectively, they placed third and fourth for their team last week at sections. Smedstad placed No. 17 overall while Boettcher was No. 27.

"They're very critical to our success," said assistant coach Mike Larson. "Without them we wouldn't be here."

Silver Bay and Cook County have combined for many years when it comes to Alpine skiing, but the team has not been to a state meet since 1993.

"It's been a while since we had a whole team here," Vick said.

The team did have to battle some very tough competition at the section meet last week, including teams from Duluth East and some from the northern suburbs of the Twin Cities.

"Success is earning a birth to state," Larson said.

"Getting here was a really big deal," Vick said.

The team could have had an advantage, skiing on the same trek they won their section title on - Giants Ridge.

"Giants ridge is a good venue for any race team," Larson said.

With that, Signe Larson, one of the top skiers on the team, has battled a recent injury that occurred at practice hindering her chances of performing well at state.

Other teams that vied for a state championship included Lakeville South, Minnehaha Academy of Minneapolis, Stillwater Area, Minnetonka, Benilde-St. Margaret's of St. Louis Park, Bloomington Jefferson and Duluth Marshall/Lakeview Christian Academy.

At sections last week, Cook County/Silver Bay slashed through the competition with their closest competitor (Duluth Marshall/Lakeview) coming in 19 points behind.

Nordic skiing

Last week the Two Harbors Nordic ski team came up empty handed at Giants Ridge, with no skiers qualifying from sections for the state meet.

"[It was] a somewhat disappointing day, as the Agate Nordic team didn't qualify anyone for state this year," said head coach Sara Byrns. "But, we had a good season overall. Our senior graduates will be sorely missed next season, but some of them are going on to ski in college, so their ski careers are just beginning. My hope is that all of our graduating seniors continue to ski, even if they just do so recreationally."

Leif Gilsvik will ski at Gogebic Community College while Kaila Carpenter has committed to be at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay next year on an athletic scholarship.

At the sections the top seven boys and girls from a team ski. Two Harbors had six boys and seven girls competing.

"The skate course was on the silver trail, a challenging freestyle course with a quite a few steep climbs, including a climbing combo called 'triple threat,'" Byrns said. "The classic course was new this year, going up the cedar trail and returning on the gold trail. The new classic course required the skiers to be good climbers, as you need to stride uphill for the majority of the course, before heading back down in the last kilometer."

In order to qualify for state, the winning team is calculated by adding the scores of the top four skiers on a team.

Only the first place team qualifies and they bring their entire team of seven skiers with them to the state meet.

The winning team's skiers are "taken" out of the results and the next eight individuals also qualify for the state meet.

"The competition to get to state is fierce in our section, and even those that don't qualify would rank in the top quarter of the skiers at state," Byrns said.

Gilsvik finished the freestyle race at No. 11, while finishing No. 12 in the classic pursuit.

"He raced a strong classic pursuit staying with the lead group until near the last kilometer," Byrns said. "A skier in that pack went down, Gilsvik tried to get around, but caught a ski tip in the deep snow on the side of the trail and went down also. As the rest of the course was downhill, Gilsvik didn't have time to catch the lead pack again."

Junior Aaron Holbeck was second for the Agates finishing No. 37 in the pursuit. Following Holbeck was senior Alex McGrath at No. 46

Senior Carpenter finished No. 11 in the freestyle race.

"Skate is her strong technique," Byrns said. "Starting the pursuit classic leg she had some skiers whose strength is classic not far behind her. After a great effort she finished the pursuit race 18th overall."

Senior Sonja Peterson finished her skate race No. 23 and was able to maintain her place in the pursuit (she recently won the 6.1 K junior varsity freestyle race championship at Boulder Lake). Freshman Kiersten Haaversen skated her first race just a second behind Peterson, but was able to make-up time in the classic race, moving from No. 24 to 21 and having the top classic time for the Agates.

Charlotte Montgomery finished the pursuit No. 32, Mercedes Leininger finished No. 34 while Tessa Highmark was No. 44 and Brittany Seeber was No. 50.

"Next season will be a big change, especially with our girls team, as we say goodbye to such a large number of seniors," Byrns said. "Our younger skiers will have to step-up and fill in some big boots. The younger boys have already started taking on more challenges racing at the varsity level, as they have a smaller team."

Girls hockey

The Mariner girls finished their regular season regular season schedule at 7-17-1 with a 2-1 victory in Babbitt over the East Range Knights.

They closed their season with three victories in a row and won four of their last five.

Taylor Skelton put the Knights ahead with the only score of the first period just over three minutes into the contest and gave a late wakeup call to the Mariner squad that had not shown up yet. Kirstin Sandstrom scored the first of her two goals in the game at 11:25 of period two to tie the contest at one.

Stevi Rannetsberger jumped up into the play, carried the puck low and got off a shot and saw Sandstrom in position to put home her rebound. Sandstrom's second goal of the evening, and the last one of the game, proved to be a game winner and was set up by Rannetsberger once again along with Taylor Guzzo.

The Mariners outshot the Knights 15-4 in the third period and 35-19 in the game. Nikki Mealey picked up the win with 18 saves.

The Mariners opened Section 7A tournament play at 7 p.m. Thursday at Lindstrom with a quarterfinal contest versus the Chisago Lakes Wildcats, a team they beat in the semis last season.

TH hockey

The Agates tied Ely 5-5 Tuesday.

"We had trouble scoring," said head coach Steve Wasko. "A lot of our shots hit the goaltender. ... Our forwards were able to beat their defenseman."

Ely started out the scoring in the first with a goal coming at 15:32 and held the lead with only a few minutes left in the period before Jake Homick (Scott Comrie, Ben Ruberg) scored on a power-play goal.

In the second Ely started out the scoring on a power play before Mac Conrow (Kevin Thewis) could touch the other side of the net to tie it. Ely scored one more to have the lead going into the third.

Alex Anderson (Comrie, Matt McDannold) scored on a power play to tie it at 16:35. Ely retook the lead in the third with two more goals, but then the Agates offense awoke with a goal coming from Comrie (Ben Ruberg) at 6:37 and an unassisted score from Ruberg at 6:31.

"We had some work to do and we did that," Wasko said of the comeback.

Aaron Lee had 36 saves for Two Harbors.

SB hockey

The Silver Bay/Cook County Mariners suffered a three more losses last week.

They fell 4-3 to the Greenway Raiders at Coleraine and lost at home 8-1 to a very nice International Falls Broncos team at Rukavina Arena.

After a scoreless first period in Coleraine, Hunter Panetti put the Mariners ahead 1:21 into the second period. The Raiders replied with two scores from Nick Adams to take the lead at 2-1. Twelve seconds later Drew Holmen tied it up for the Bay and with 1:35 left in period two he put the Mariners up 3-2.

The lead held until 3:04 remained in the final period when Eric Stefanich tied it up for the Raiders. The Mariners suffered a tough loss when a goal from Josh Gross gave the Raiders the lead at 4-3 with 1:16 left in regulation and the Bay could not get back an equalizer.

Darryl Hansen finished up the game with 39 stops and Erikur Arnason had 29 saves for Greenway.

The Mariners and Broncos ended up tied at one after one period of play when Ryan DeShaw scored unassisted to tie it up for the Bay.

The roof caved in during period two when the Broncos scored five times and they added two more in the third.

Hansen finished the night with 43 saves.

The Mariners fell 6-3 to the Eveleth-Gilbert Golden Bears on Parent's Night in their final home game of the season Tuesday. The game saw 123 minutes in penalties issued along with seven game ejections.

The Bears jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one as Cole Axelson and Robbie Kaldahl traded goals and assists via one-timers. The first scrum of the game came during period one and saw two players ejected. A shorthanded goal from Alex Rowbottom made it 3-0 Bears as the Mariners got one shot on goal on a four-minute power play.

The Mariners came back with a power play goal from Tyson Fultz and saw another goal waved off due to a quick whistle that would have made it 3-2.

Then scrum number two happened and resulted in five more ejections and a five- minute Eveleth power play. Three power play goals later it was 6-1 as Axelson and Kaldahl struck again along with Derek Kohlhase. The Mariners scored the only two tallies of the final period via goals by Holmen and Cody Vadnais. Hansen had 30 saves for the Mariners.

SB boys basketball

The Mariners lost to McGregor in a close one last Friday, 55-54.

The Bay was down by seven at the half, before making a comeback in the second coming up one point short.

Luke Thun led the team with 18 points along with four assists and five steals. Henry Mitchell scored 12 with 10 boards while Kyle Blood also had 12 with seven steals. The team shot 37 percent from the field.

The team's game Monday against Lakeview Christian Academy was canceled due to the weather. It will not be rescheduled.

The Bay took care of business against Babbitt-Embarrass Tuesday, 87-51.

The team held a 16-point lead at the half and never looked back, outscoring Babbitt by 20 in the second.

Mitchell led the team with 19 points, 10 rebounds and five steals. Thun had 15 points with three assists and three steals while Ryan and Kyle Blood each scored 12. Sam Otterblad also had 11 points in the game.

SB girls basketball

The Mariners fell to McGregor last Friday 83-17.

McGregor pulled away from the Bay in the first winning the half by 37. It was much the same in the second half, as McGregor poured in 39 compared to the Mariners 10.

Leigh Lampton led the team with six points while Katrina Davis and Allana Lampton each put in five.

Their game against Lakeview Christian Academy Monday was canceled because of the weather. It was rescheduled for Wednesday.

The Mariners lost to Babbitt-Embarrass 90-36 Tuesday.

Babbitt took a 35-point lead out of the half and outscored the Mariners by 19 in the second half.

"Their speed hurt us," said head coach Larry Otterblad.

Davis had 17 points and four assists for Silver Bay. Leigh added seven points and 10 boards while her sister Allana put in six with 11 rebounds.

TH boys basketball

The Agates derailed Proctor 46-38 last Thursday.

Two Harbors took a five-point lead out of the first half and held off Proctor by three in the second.

Ryan Guentzel led the team with 17 points while Caleb Hamp-Sill scored 11 and Jon McDannold had nine (he hit three three-pointers in the game).

"Everyone is becoming more experienced, and better all around basketball players," said head coach Jamie Otterblad. "The lack of experience and size has definitely hurt our win-loss record, but we are still working hard and getting better as a team. We come in as the underdog, and leave it all out on the floor."

The Agates lost to Esko, 72-31 Monday.

The Agates fell behind by 24 in the first half and lost the second by 17.

Guentzel led the team with 10 points, while Hamp-Sill had seven.

The Agates lost in a tight one Tuesday, 44-43 to Duluth Marshall.

Marshall's Connor Erickson capped a rally from a 12-point deficit in the final 2:17 with a three-point basket with 2.1 seconds to play for the win.

McDannold led the team with 10 points while Hamp-Sill had eight.

The team's current record is 2-16.

"[Our] strengths are our speed and quickness, which has lead to steals and fast break points," Otterblad said. "[Our] weaknesses are our passing and shooting, also a lack of height."

TH girls basketball

The Agates lost to Cook County 65-45 last Friday. The Agates fell behind by 10 in the first half and just couldn't close the gap in the second, losing that by 10 as well.

"We got down early and made a good comeback," said assistant coach Rick Ray. The team cut Cook County's lead to five in the second half, but it wasn't enough.

Abby Ray led the team with 18 points and five rebounds while Katelyn Adams scored seven with three assists and three steals. The Agates destroyed Wrenshall 72-10 Tuesday.

Two Harbors held a 38-point going into the second, which they won by 24.

Jenny Nelson led the team with a career-high 14 points while Adams and Kaley Peterson each scored nine. Abby Ray and Kaitlin Slette each had eight points and Kalina Pavlisich led the team with seven assists.

"Everybody scored and the younger kids got to play a lot," Ray said.

The team will be without senior forward Sierra Tietge for a few games due to a medical condition.