Two Harbors played International Falls close for nearly two thirds of the game, but late Bronco runs led to a 70-57 home loss for the Agates Monday, Feb. 17.
Coach Bill Anderson thought the Agates played well overall, but there were too many miscues on the defensive end.
“I think we played overall good team defense,” Anderson said. “But what got us into trouble was the same old situations where we were careless with the ball, and we gave up baseline penetration and it just destroys us. We need to help and it’s too slow and then they end up at the foul line or converting 3-point plays.”
The Agates fell behind early in the first half, but battled back to tie the game at 34 at halftime.
In the second half, Two Harbors scored the first two buckets of the half, but International Falls battled back to take a 46-40 lead.
“They went on a 6-0 spurt, we called timeout and we stopped it, but then we gave up another 10-0 run,” Anderson said. “It takes the wind out of your sails a little bit.”
The Agates tied the game at 46, but the Broncos’ second run ended the Two Harbors threat.
Freshman Trent Gomez scored 18 points to lead Two Harbors, and senior Cameron Mackey scored 14 in his first game since Dec. 27.
Mackey — one of just two seniors on the roster — broke his hand in the Agates’ 96-90 double-overtime loss to Eveleth-Gilbert at the Mesabi East Holiday tournament. Anderson was pleasantly surprised with Mackey’s contributions after missing the last 14 games.
“I didn’t anticipate playing him as much as I did, but he earned that time, and he really gave us a spark right there,” Anderson said.
The Agates have made “great strides” this season, Anderson said, after a 1-12 start. Two Harbors won four of five games in January — including a win over North Shore rival Silver Bay — before dropping its last four games. Despite their record, Anderson expects his team to be a tough out for whoever they face in the Section 7AA tournament.
“With the way these guys compete, I don’t know if anybody is excited to face us in the first round,” Anderson said. “But we have to go out and execute too. The problem is being an eight versus a one, your match-up is going to be very difficult and it’s going to take a perfect game.”
Two Harbors (5-17) will play at Silver Bay at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20.
International Falls 34-36—70
Two Harbors 34-23—57
International Falls — Jace Hallin 22, Bryant Koenig 4, Riley Johnson 13, Cullen Rein 8, Jeff Tomczak 17, Knue Boerger 6. Totals 26 16-25 70.
3-point goals — Hallin, Tomczak.
Two Harbors — Trent Gomez 18, Cameron Mackey 14, Clark Nelson 9, Eli Schlangen 7, Alex Churness 2, Jeremiah Johnson 7. Totals 24 5-9 57.
3-point goals — Mackey 2, Nelson, Schlangen.