Late T-S rally sinks Wolves

by Tom Coombe

For the better part of 30 minutes of basketball Tuesday night, the Ely Timberwolves stymied and shut down undefeated Tower-Soudan.<BR><BR>But the Golden Eagles turned the tables in the final two minutes of the high school boys basketball game, blanking the Wolves and hitting enough key shots to pull out a 55-51 victory.<BR><BR>The Wolves led 51-47 with two minutes left, but Tower-Soudan scored the final eight points and finished off a 14-3 run that encompassed the final five minutes.<BR><BR>Jesse Quick’s three-pointer cut the gap to 51-50 with 1:40 to go, and Steve Jamnick sank two free throws 30 seconds later to put the Golden Eagles (4-0) ahead to stay.<BR><BR>Zach Schroeder, Quick and Robbie Reichensperger all had single free throws in the final minute to seal the win.<BR><BR>The late collapse spoiled an otherwise solid evening for the Wolves and especially senior star Tim Scott - who led all scorers and carried the Ely offense with 37 points.<BR><BR>“We just battled with one of the better teams around and had a chance to win,” said Ely Head Coach Tom McDonald. “If you take anything positive from it, that’s what you take.”<BR><BR>Ely (3-2) led almost the entire game, with Scott putting on an offensive clinic and the Wolves keeping Jamnick - the Golden Eagles’ 6-10 center - in check.<BR><BR>Luke Spangler, a 6-2 senior, was making his first varsity start in place of suspended regular Mike Popesh, and played in front of Jamnick in Ely’s zone defense.<BR><BR>Jamnick scored 22 points, but he was held to 12 through three stanzas and most of his fourth-quarter points came after Spangler fouled out.<BR><BR>“That (Spangler’s foul out) hurt because he did an excellent job on him all night,” said McDonald. “Defensively he’s always been good and hopefully we can get him shooting a little bit better.”<BR><BR>The Wolves looked to run against the Golden Eagles, and Scott’s acceleration helped the hosts out to an early lead.<BR><BR>Twice in the first quarter, he picked off passes on the defensive end and drove for layups.<BR><BR>He had 10 of Ely’s 16 points in the first frame and the Wolves built a 16-13 lead.<BR><BR>It was more of the same in the second.<BR><BR>The Golden Eagles had trouble getting the ball to Jamnick and their outside shots weren’t falling.<BR><BR>The Wolves scored in transition and on Scott drives, and both Scott and Eric McDonald nailed three-point shots to give Ely a 28-21 halftime lead.<BR><BR>“They let Tim free and he was just going to the basket like crazy,” said McDonald. “He wasn’t afraid at all of 6-10 inside.”<BR><BR>Quick had three buckets in the third quarter and T-S trimmed the Wolves’ lead to 36-35 going into the final quarter.<BR><BR>Ely responded with a run of its own.<BR><BR>Scott got a bucket and was fouled by Jamnick. He missed the free throw but the Wolves got the ensuing rebound and kicked it out to Scott for a three-pointer.<BR><BR>The five-point play sparked the Wolves and Ely built its lead back to seven at 48-41.<BR><BR>Spangler fouled out down the stretch and Jamnick began to assert himself down low.<BR><BR>His inside basket made it a four-point game and Ely took timeout with 2:21 left, leading 51-47.<BR><BR>“I told them let’s win it at the (free throw) line but we never went to the line,” said McDonald.<BR><BR>Scott missed a baseline jumper, and T-S sliced the lead to one on Quick’s long-range bomb.<BR><BR>Ely turned the ball over on the ensuing possession and Jamnick drilled two free throws to put the Golden Eagles in front.<BR><BR>The Wolves had several good looks in the final minute, but couldn’t get anything to fall.<BR><BR>T-S, however, missed nine free throw attempts in the last quarter and gave the Wolves new life.<BR><BR>With the score 54-51, Reichensperger came up with a key steal with 12 seconds to go. He missed two free throws, but the Golden Eagles got the rebound and Reichensperger finally iced it with a free throw with seven seconds left.<BR><BR>Quick (25 points) and Jamnick (22) provided nearly all of the T-S offense.<BR><BR>Scott was a one-man wrecking crew for the Wolves. McDonald added six points and Spangler finished with four. Nick Furnstahl and Kevin Hartshorn wound up with two points apiece.<BR><BR>The Wolves were competitive with the Golden Eagles despite the absence of two key players - Popesh and the injured Steve Milkovich.<BR><BR>TUESDAY’s BOX SCORE<BR><BR>T-S 13 8 14 20 55<BR><BR>Ely 16 12 8 15 51<BR><BR>T-S-- Jesse Quick 25, Steve Jamnick 22, Zach Schroeder 4, Ryan Potter 3, Robbie Reichensperger 1. Totals 20 8-20 55.<BR><BR>3-point goals -- Quick 2, Schroeder 1<BR><BR>Ely -- Tim Scott 37, Eric McDonald 6, Luke Spangler 4, Nick Furnstahl 2, Kevin Hartshorn 2. Totals 17 11-16 51.<BR><BR>3-point goals -- Scott 2, McDonald 2<BR><BR>Wolves 85, Cotton 51<BR><BR>McDonald scored 27 points and the Wolves pulled away from the Cardinals by outscoring them 43-18 in the second half.<BR><BR>Cotton had a 22-19 advantage in the second quarter and trimmed the Wolves’ lead to 41-33 at halftime.<BR><BR>It was all Ely in the final two quarters.<BR><BR>Scott had 22 points and 15 rebounds. Furnstahl hit double figures with 11 points and Popesh poured in nine.<BR><BR>Spangler and Hartshorn finished with four points each.<BR><BR>DEC. 10 Box Score:<BR><BR>Ely 22 19 21 22 -- 85<BR><BR>Cotton 11 22 9 9 -- 51<BR><BR>Ely -- Ryan Bagnal 3, Jeremy Boedeker 2, Nick Furnstahl 11, Kevin Hartshorn 4, Pat LeKatz 3, Eric McDonald 27, Mike Popesh 9, Tim Scott 22, Luke Spangler 4. Totals 34 15-25 85.<BR><BR>