For Wolves, move up means long trip, tough foe

By Tom Coombe

The Ely Timberwolves won't find nearby foes such as Cook, Mt. Iron-Buhl or Babbitt-Embarrass in the Section 7AA high school boys basketball tournament.<BR><BR>Nor will Ely, 14-9, find perhaps the area's hottest team - undefeated Tower-Soudan. <BR><BR>But while the opposition may not be familiar and will not have the perfect record sported by the Golden Eagles, the move up to the higher enrollment division is loaded with obstacles for the Wolves.<BR><BR>Ely is a decided underdog in the 7AA tournament, which starts with first-round games Thursday at four northeastern Minnesota sites.<BR><BR>Seeding and pairings were completed over the weekend, but it appeared late last week that the Wolves were headed for a first-round date with either Two Harbors (14-8) or Moose Lake-Willow River (17-5).<BR><BR>Game time is 6 p.m., either at Duluth Denfeld or Cloquet.<BR><BR>The Wolves, who lost 59-49 at Chisholm in their Feb. 27 regular season finale, are likely to be seeded fifth or sixth in the eight-team east half of 7AA.<BR><BR>At the top of the heap are several teams with their eyes on the section crown, including Ely's potential first-round opponents, Esko, Duluth Marshall, Crosby-Ironton and Deer River.<BR><BR>"I don't think we're one of the top teams, but I think it would be a wide-open section," said Ely Head Coach Tom McDonald. "I think there are any number of teams that could win it."<BR><BR>Ely didn't play Moose Lake-Willow River during the regular season, but Two Harbors hammered the Wolves 82-43 during the finale of the Ely Holiday Tournament.<BR><BR>With 6-7 center Mike MacDonald and a talented backcourt, the Agates had too many weapons for Ely in the Dec. 31 game. They shot over 70 percent from the floor in the first half."<BR><BR>"I hope they don't shoot the ball as well as they did," McDonald said in speculation of a matchup with Two Harbors. "And we'd have to play better defense against them."<BR><BR>Thursday's first-round winners advance into the section quarterfinals, which will be held Saturday at Romano Gymnasium, on the campus of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.<BR><BR>The semifinals are March 16 and the section title game is March 19, also at UMD.<BR><BR>Chisholm 59, Wolves 49<BR><BR>Bluestreaks star Shea Amic topped the 1,000-point mark for his career, and had 17 points in the game, as his team won at home.<BR><BR>A slow start doomed the Wolves.<BR><BR>Ely had trouble with Chisholm's zone defense and didn't connect from the outside.<BR><BR>The Bluestreaks held Ely's top two scorers - Tim Scott and Drew Hanson - to just two points in the first half.<BR><BR>Chisholm led 27-11 at the break and held off Ely down the stretch.<BR><BR>"It was just an ugly first half," said McDonald. "We just couldn't hit any shots."<BR><BR>Scott came back in the second half and wound up leading the Wolves with 20 points and 12 rebounds.<BR><BR>Eric McDonald chipped in with 15 points and Hanson added 11.