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Basketball: Mariner boys hold off Wrens

Silver Bay junior Weston Monson (35) takes a 3-pointer during the Mariners' 64-62 win over Wrenshall on Feb. 16 in Silver Bay. (News-Chronicle photo by Jamey Malcomb)

Junior Weston Monson scored 23 points as the Mariners topped Section 7A-leading Wrenshall 64-62 on Friday, Feb. 16, in Silver Bay.

Silver Bay jumped out to a 34-18 lead playing a "sticky" defense, according to Coach Terry Blood, and clamping down on Nick Mattson, the Wrens' leading scorer.

Blood's strategy worked well, holding Mattson to just seven points in the game, but the Mariners didn't count on the red hot shooting in the second half from Eli Krisak.

Krisak heated up in the second half, hitting eight 3-pointers and leading a comeback effort in which Wrenshall outscored Silver Bay 32-13 in the first 10 minutes of the half to take a 50-47 lead.

Krisak eventually ended up with 28 points and Blood started using sophomore Riley Tiboni to close out and prevent Krisak from getting to his preferred spots on the floor.

Complicating matters even further for Silver Bay was the foul trouble of its own leading scorer, Jason Blood. Jason played most of the second half with four fouls and eventually fouled out with more than five minutes to play and the Mariners still down three. Jason finished with 12 points on the night.

Monson and Mason Ollman connected from long-range and helped Silver Bay build a 63-59 lead with about a minute to play.

"Take a peak at Mason," Coach Blood said. "He has the best kid in our conference on him and he didn't turn the ball over once. He's grown a lot ... and then Weston came out and played well, too. Weston and him had to carry more of a load than they normally do, but they can."

Wrenshall answered with a 3-pointer of its own to cut the lead to one. After Monson hit 1-of-2 at the free-throw line, the Wrens had about 5 seconds to get a shot to tie or win the game.

Following a timeout, which advanced the ball to midcourt, Ollman tipped the inbounds pass into the backcourt and out of bounds below the Wrenshall basket, forcing the Wrens to go the length of the court with less than 2 seconds on the clock.

Wrenshall senior Tyler Kelley got the ball on the inbound, but a desperation heave from his own foul line was knocked down by the rafters in the gym as time expired, preserving the Mariner win.

The win over Wrenshall is Silver Bay's biggest victory so far. The Mariners are playing as well as they have all season, with just two games left before the Section 7A tournament starts March 5.

Silver Bay (14-9) will next play Duluth Marshall on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 6:30 p.m. in Silver Bay.

"We just got all our kids back," Coach Blood said. "We can play with any team if we are healthy."

Wrenshall 18-44—62

Silver Bay 34-30—64

Wrenshall — Jared Kelley 2, Kyle Despot 4, Nick Mattson 7, Tyler Kelley 10, Chase Duncan 2, Eli Krisak 28, Randy Wimmer 9. Totals 18 11-19 62.

3-point goals — Despot, Mattson 2, Krisak 8.

Silver Bay — Zach Blood 3, Jason Blood 12, Riley Tiboni 16, Mason Ollman 7, Jared DeHart 2, James Nopola 1, Weston Monson 23. Totals 20 17-24 64.

3-point goals — Tiboni 3, Monson 2, Ollman, Z. Blood.

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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