Girls get defensive in tourney

by Tom Coombe

Ely’s high school girls basketball team won one low-scoring battle and lost another during the 12th Annual Ely Holiday Tournament.<BR><BR>The Timberwolves edged Lake of the Woods 35-31 Tuesday afternoon but were stymied by Cromwell, falling 36-16 the next day.<BR><BR>Ely met Eveleth in the tournament finale, completed after the Echo’s early New Year’s holiday deadline.<BR><BR>Both of the first two contests were marked by solid defense, and even in defeat the Wolves were effective in containing Cromwell (7-1), one of the area’s top Class A teams.<BR><BR>“I think the low score is an indication that it was a good defensive game both ways,” said Ely Head Coach Judy Klun. “We had trouble scoring. Cromwell is a tough team with a high ranking.”<BR><BR>Cromwell’s highly-touted Kylee Smith sank a pair of three-pointers in the first half, and that was just enough offense to spark the Cardinals.<BR><BR>Cromwell led 10-4 after one quarter and extended the gap to 20-9 by halftime.<BR><BR>The Wolves didn’t have enough firepower to come back.<BR><BR>Ninth-grader Tomi McDonald, Ely’s top scorer for the season, was held scoreless by the Cardinals’ suffocating defense.<BR><BR>Ely also continued to play without starters Jackie Lekatz and Kelsey Ivancich, who have missed the last five games because of injuries.<BR><BR>The Wolves managed just three second-half baskets and seven total points.<BR><BR>Senior Angie Mackie was the top point-getter for the Wolves, finishing with seven points.<BR><BR>Barb Klun added six points while Candice Smrekar (two) and Christa Streit (one) also scored.<BR><BR>Alexa Grones led Cromwell with 14 points and Smith was next with 12.<BR><BR>In the tournament opener, Ely got out to a 21-16 lead in the first half and shut down Lake of the Woods the rest of the way, prevailing by four.<BR><BR>McDonald nailed three three-pointers, including a crucial shot that helped seal things in the final quarter.<BR><BR>She finished with a team-high 11 points.<BR><BR>Three other Wolves - Smrekar, Klun and Betsy Guck - added six points each. Mackie finished with four points and Streit contributed two.<BR><BR>The Wolves are right back in action this week with a busy slate.<BR><BR>They host Chisholm Tuesday (7:30 p.m.) and go to Tower Thursday for a showdown with local rival Tower-Soudan. On Saturday, the Wolves are at Maranatha Academy in Superior, Wis., as part of a girls-boys basketballl doubleheader.Girls get defensive in tourney