A title-winning performance

Ely girls blast Wrenshall, win Hoops for Hope Tournament

by Tom Coombe
Ely’s high school girls basketball team saved its best outing of the holiday tournament for last.
After a sluggish opener, the Timberwolves clicked on all cylinders in the Dec. 28 title game of the Fourth Annual Hoops for Hope Holiday Tournament and clobbered visiting Wrenshall 57-24.
Four Wolves scored in double figures and Ely played exceptional defense, coming up with 28 steals and forcing over 30 turnovers.
Many of those turnovers came early on, as the Wolves improved to 5-3 overall, claimed first-place in the tournament and had a crisp afternoon on the court.
“In the championship game, we were able to use our pressure defense and give our offense some easier shots and get a lot of steals,” said Ely Head Coach Darren Visser.
Sophomore Erika Mattson had eight of those steals to go with a game-high 18 points. She had a pair of three-point basketbs.
Senior Shayla Zaverl added 14 points, seven steals and six rebounds for the Wolves.
Closing in on a triple double was Brielle Kallberg, as the sophomore had 10 points, nine rebounds and seven steals.
Junior Gabi Omerza contributed 11 points and four rebounds while classmate Lida Dodge picked up four steals.
“Overall it was nice to see our team come out and win the tournament with a quality team effort in both games,” said Visser. “We are starting to get a number of people contributing in many different ways and that is allowing us to become a more balanced team.”
The Wolves opened the tourney with a 50-38 win over Lake of the Woods.
“I felt in the first game against Lake of the Woods we had to work through the long break rust,” said Visser. “I was very happy with the girls on how every time LOW made a run at us we withstood it and did what we needed to do to regain a decent lead.”
Lake of the Woods downed Northeast Range 60-15 in the third-place game of Hoops for Hope, which generates funds for the Spiritwood Foundation, aiding families of those stricken with Alzheimer’s Disease.
• Ely met Nashwauk-Keewatin Thursday after deadline and travels to Littlefork-Big Falls Monday before returning home for a Thursday, Jan. 11 matchup with Northeast Range.