Silver Bay needed some last-second heroics from junior Weston Monson and sophomore Mason Ollman on Wednesday, March 7, but the Mariners outlasted a late run by Fond du Lac Ojibwe to take a 66-63 victory in the first round of the Section 7A tournament in Proctor.
The Mariners led by three at halftime and built an 52-41 lead off a 19-7 run with six minutes to play. FDL's Jordan Brown, Eddie Defoe and Avery Misquadace and Uriah Aubid all hit 3-pointers to spur a 22-11 run and tie the game with less than a minute to play.
Following a missed shot by the Mariners, FDL guard Uriah Aubid brought the ball back up the court and Ollman poked the ball away and went the other direction with what looked to be a sure two points. Trying to avoid the defenders on his heels, Ollman drove to deep into the lane and missed the layup.
Monson, the Mariners' top rebounder and tallest player, was trailing right behind him and grabbed the offensive rebound.
"I saw Mason steal it and I was like, 'All right, Mason's going to miss this,'" Monson said. "I knew it for some reason and it came off the backboard really fast and I thought I was going to jump up so high and slam it back down."
Monson was fouled and sank both free throws to give Silver Bay a a two-point lead with seven seconds to play.
"How many kids do you see following the ball like that?" coach Terry Blood said. "Usually, they'll hang back ... that was just pure heart, running and chasing that down. That was my biggest kid chasing down the ball."
After timeouts by both teams, coach Blood ran a defensive play where Jason Blood cut off the inbound pass to the corner and Ollman was covering the middle. Ollman tipped, then controlled the pass and FDL was forced to foul with just two seconds remaining. Ollman hit 1-of-2 shots and with no timeouts left, and FDL was forced to rely on a last-second heave from Aubid that was off the mark.
"Coach had us in the huddle and he knew exactly what was going to happen," Ollman said. "He planned it out on that pick and it ended up perfectly happening."
FDL presented a unique challenge for Silver Bay, a team the Mariners had not faced yet this season. The Ogichidaag are a quick team with good hands. When they get hot from behind the arc, as the Mariners learned, they can put up a lot of points quickly.
Jason Blood led the Mariners with 20 important, but relatively quiet points, including 13 in the second half.
Following Silver Bay's game Wednesday, Lakeview Christian Academy defeated Cook County, advancing to again face the Mariners in the Section 7A quarterfinal.
The matchup will be the same as in 2017; the Mariners lost that game 39-34. Silver Bay will play LCA at 5:45 p.m. Saturday, March 10, at Hibbing Memorial.
Blood named to Polar League co-MVP
Jason Blood was named the Polar League Small Schools co-MVP along with Wrenshall's Tyler Kelley. Blood broke the Silver Bay school record for season points and was also named to the All-Polar League first team, along with junior Weston Monson.
Silver Bay girls senior Jocelyn Russell was named to the All-Polar League first team. Russell led the Mariners in scoring with 13.7 points per game this season and scored 1,168 points in her career with Silver Bay.
Section 7A first round, March 7
Fond du Lac Ojibwe 24-39—63
Silver Bay 27-39—66
Fond du Lac Ojibwe — Jordan Brown 8, Eddie Defoe 3, Avery Misquadace 19, Treshawn Brown 5, Uriah Aubid 18, Jalen Paulson 10. Totals 25 4-6 63.
3-point goals — J. Brown 2, Defoe, Misquadace 4, T. Brown, Aubid.
Silver Bay — Jason Blood 20, Mason Ollman 14, Weston Monson 15, Riley Tiboni 10, Jared DeHart 7. Totals 23 14-23 66.
3-point goals — Blood, Ollman, Monson, Tiboni 3.
Regular season, March 1
Silver Bay 29-31—60
Cook County 25-27—52
Silver Bay — Jason Blood 15, Mason Ollman 16, Weston Monson 14, Riley Tiboni 11, Jared DeHart 4. Totals 22 11-12 60.
3-point goals — Ollman, Monson 2, Tiboni 2.
Cook County — Trusen Gordon 2, Adam Dorr 3, Pete Sutton 16, Jordan Porter 12, Will Ramberg 16, Dyami Blackwell 2. Totals 20 3-9 52.
3-point goals — Dorr, Sutton 5, Porter, Ramberg.