Two Harbors shoots out lights, Wolves

By Tom Coombe

If the Two Harbors Agates always shot as well as they did against Ely, they might never lose a game.<BR><BR>During the regular season, an 80 percent first-half shooting performance lifted Two Harbors to a lopsided win over the high school boys basketball team. <BR><BR>In Thursday’s Section 7AA playoff rematch, the Agates shook off a slow start and still shot 63 percent through the first two quarters, building up a big lead and cruising to a 73-47 win over the Timberwolves before 500 fans at Duluth Denfeld High School.<BR><BR>Ely jumped out to a 12-7 lead in the opening quarter, but the Agates quickly warmed up, nailing eight three-pointers in the first half and going on a 35-10 run over an 11-minute span.<BR><BR>That was more than enough to send the Agates, 16-11, into a quarterfinal matchup with Duluth Marshall.<BR><BR>Ely finished 14-10 and was overwhelmed by Two Harbors’ proficient shooting and overall athleticism.<BR><BR>“One thing we couldn’t have them do was shoot well and that’s exactly what they did,” said Ely Head Coach Tom McDonald. “We just lost to a better team. Player-for-player, we just couldn’t match up with them.”<BR><BR>Two Harbors was on fire from three-point distance during an 81-43 regular season victory over the Wolves, and not much changed in the postseason meeting.<BR><BR>The Agates missed their first three-point shots against Ely’s zone defense, and six points by Tim Scott along with three-pointers by Josh Weckman and Eric McDonald gave the Wolves a five-point lead.<BR><BR>But Sean Olson, who came off the bench to score a team-high 17 points for the Agates, hit a pair of long-distance bombs to give his squad the lead and the Agates were off to the races.<BR><BR>Teammate Andy Morsette nailed the first of his four first-half treys to make it 16-12, and the rout was on.<BR><BR>Morsette and Owen Johnson took turns hitting three-pointers to open the second quarter, and once the Wolves abandoned their zone defense in favor of a man-to-man setup, the Agates burned them on drives to the hoop.<BR><BR>“We went man-to-man and they went right around us,” said McDonald.<BR><BR>Ely would get no closer than 18 points in the second half, and the Agates maintained their dominance.<BR><BR>They shot 50 percent for the game, outrebounded the Wolves 29-15 and forced 17 Ely turnovers.<BR><BR>Scott, northeastern Minnesota’s leading scorer during the regular season, led the Wolves with 19 points. Sophomore Eric McDonald added 11 points and senior Drew Hanson added 10 in his final game in an Ely uniform.<BR><BR>Olson, who had 17 points, was one of four Agates in double digits. Morsette and Johnson contributed 14 points each, and Sean Patterson finished with 13 points.<BR><BR>Mike MacDonald, Two Harbors’ 6-7 center, was held to five points but helped Two Harbors control the boards. He also prevented the Wolves from putting together much of an inside game.<BR><BR>At times, the Wolves’ offense included all five players in the perimeter.<BR><BR>Hanson was one of seven Wolves seniors. Also finishing their prep basketball careers were Josh Weckman, Cory Lassi, Dan Stene, Tony Carlson, Kai Bowen and Kevin Pope.<BR><BR>“They’ve come a long way, all of them,” said Tom McDonald. “They went from not winning many games in junior high to all of them contributing (at the varsity level).”<BR><BR>Realignment moved the Wolves up to Class AA this year, away from area rivals such as Cook, Tower-Soudan and Babbitt-Embarrass and into a division with several larger schools.<BR><BR>“I really was hoping we’d be .500 and we ended up a little bit above,” said Tom McDonald. “I don’t like losing like this but I thought we had a good year... We were going to run into better teams in Class A (also) but we might have been able to win a (playoff) game.”