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Boys basketball preview: Agates need 'balanced attack'

Two Harbors senior Jayden Ruberg takes a shot during the Agates' December 2017 game against Silver Bay. News-Chronicle file

The past few years have been tough for the Two Harbors boys basketball program.

The Agates had just 12 total wins in the past three seasons, included a pair of three-win seasons in 2015-16 and 2017-18.

Senior Jayden Ruberg has been Two Harbors' most consistent player. He is on his way to becoming the Agates' all-time leading scorer and had a school record 51 points in an overtime win over Duluth Marshall last season.

The team's struggle has been to find a secondary scoring threat to keep teams from throwing double or even triple teams at Ruberg.

The key, according to coach Bill Anderson, is the development and contributions of the 10 seniors on the team. Carson Wenger developed into the Agates' leading rebounder last season, but Two Harbors will need contributions from other players like Ricky Brenna, Joey Marker and Cameron Bugge.

"Those guys can help us have a balanced attack night in and night out," Anderson said. "Our big thing is we bring back a lot of experience. We only lost two seniors. If these guys can figure out how to be selective in their shots without turning the ball over — as cliche as it is — but that's really the key with this group."

This year, Two Harbors is going to play an aggressive pressing defense, according to Anderson, and try to push the ball up the court in transition. He knows other teams are going to focus on Ruberg, but if they can keep opposing defenses from setting up double teams on the high-scoring wing, wins could start to pile up for the Agates.

Anderson said the team's goals for the season include finishing with a winning record and hopefully securing a home playoff game for the first time in 10 years.

The Agates' season will begin against Ely at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, in Two Harbors.

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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