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Basketball: Mariners' firepower too much for Agates

Silver Bay's Jason Blood (right) drives past Two Harbors' Ricky Brenna. Blood finished with 24 points. (News-Chronicle photo by Jamey Malcomb)1 / 3
Silver Bay's Mason Ollman (right) goes up for a layup over Two Harbors' Thatcher Sunday. 2 / 3
Two Harbors' Jayden Ruberg shoots over Silver Bay's Weston Monson and Riley Tiboni (24) during the Mariners' win Monday, Dec. 18. Ruberg scored a game-high 29 points. (News-Chronicle photos by Jamey Malcomb)3 / 3

Silver Bay senior Jason Blood and junior Weston Monson each scored 24 points in an 82-58 win over Two Harbors on Monday, Dec. 18, in Two Harbors.

The Agates tried to slow the Mariner attack down with a full-court press from the opening moments of the game. The strategy resulted in a couple of early turnovers, but the Agates couldn't convert them into points. As the first half wore on, the Mariner guards were able to break the press and get some easy buckets to build a 19-6 lead early in the game. They led 45-23 at halftime.

Two Harbors junior Jayden Ruberg, who topped all scorers with 29 points, tried to spark a comeback with 23 in the second half. The Mariners held Ruberg in check in the first half.

Terry Blood said his team had a box-and-one defense ready to contain the Agate forward when he got hot, but with Silver Bay with a comfortable lead, he decided to let the game play out.

Silver Bay point guard Mason Ollman was key in breaking the Agate press early in the game, advancing the ball and showing a knack for finding the open man up court. Ollman, who put up 11 first-half points, ended the game with 19.

Terry Blood said while he was pleased with the win, the Mariners were a little sluggish coming out and the performance was not the best Silver Bay has to offer, especially on the defensive end.

"I thought we were a little ragged tonight. We weren't as controlled on the top and we had a lot of turnovers," he said. "I can always tell when we are a little lazy because of how we played defense. We reached a little and had a few more fouls, but usually we're sharper."

Monson said the team played well with several players taking advantage of the opportunities they were given at different points in the game.

Early in the first half, Ollman dominated play on the offensive end. As the Agate defense adjusted its focus, Jason Blood started to take advantage of some open looks. In the second half, Ollman and Jason Blood each started finding Monson below the basket and the junior scored 15 in the final half of the game.

"We played like a team and we just keep working harder every single day," Monson said. "We came in with the mentality to win the game and we did. We might not have played our best game, but we got things done."

Other scorers for Silver Bay included Riley Tiboni with 10 points, Zach Blood with three and Jared DeHart with two.

Aside from Ruberg and Carson Wenger, who scored 10 points, the Agates continue to have problems getting points on the board. Other scorers included Ricky Brenna with six; Aaron Elmquist and Sunday with four apiece; Jeremy Carter, Nathan Campbell and Cameron Bugge with two each; and Ryan Nowacki with one.

Mariners maul McGregor

Silver Bay also beat McGregor 75-37 on Friday, Dec. 15, in McGregor. Ollman scored 25 points and Jason Blood scored 19. The Mariners again built a big first-half lead and cruised to the win in the second half.

Other scorers for the Mariners included Monson with 10 points; Zach Blood with nine; Riley Tiboni with eight; and Jared DeHart with four.

Silver Bay (4-1) was scheduled to play Lakeview Christian Academy on Thursday, Dec. 21, in Cotton. Results weren't available by press time.

The Mariners will then face Onamia on Thursday, Dec. 28, at 5:15 p.m. in the opening round of the Ogilvie Invitational in Ogilvie.

Agates fall to Aitkin

Two Harbors also lost to Aitkin 68-31 on Friday, Dec. 15, in Two Harbors. Carson Wenger and Ricky Brenna led the Agates with nine points each.

Two Harbors trailed 33-20 at halftime, but managed only 11 points in the second half.

Other scorers for the Agates included Joey Marker and Ruberg with four each; Carter and Sunday with two each; and Nathan Campbell with one.

Two Harbors (1-4) is scheduled to play at Barnum on Friday, Dec. 22, at 7:15 p.m., and then in the Mesabi East Invitational beginning Wednesday, Dec. 27, in Aurora.

Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb has been a reporter for the Pine Journal since October 2018. He previously worked as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle from 2015-2018. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. 

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