Wolves’ McDonald warms up

by Tom Coombe

Some deadly shooting by Eric McDonald lifted Ely’s high school boys basketball team to three wins in five days.<BR><BR>McDonald tied a school record with 10 three-point shots and scored a career-high 40 points Tuesday as the Timberwolves hammered Silver Bay 81-54 at the high school gymnasium.<BR><BR>That performance was McDon–ald’s best yet in a torrid stretch in which he added 26 and 29-point evenings, and 11 more three-pointers in weekend wins over Cherry and Maranatha Academy.<BR><BR>“When you’re a shooter you’ve got to take the good with the bad,” said Tom McDonald, Eric’s father and the Wolves’ head coach. “Sometimes you have good spells and sometimes you have bad ones, and right now he’s in a good spell.”<BR><BR>The wins lifted Ely to a 7-3 mark for the season, heading into matchups with defending Section 7A champion Nashwauk-Keewatin (last Friday) and local power Mt. Iron-Buhl (this Friday).<BR><BR>Ely has won four straight contests since a holiday tournament loss to Two Harbors and is showing signs of progress, according to Tom McDonald.<BR><BR>“At times, we looked real good,” he said. “But there were times we didn’t look so good and we know we have a lot of work yet to do.”<BR><BR>Wolves 81, Silver Bay 54<BR><BR>Eric McDonald ignited the hosts after a second-period lull.<BR><BR>It was McDonald and Tim Scott, who wound up an assist and two steals away from a quadruple-double, who helped the Wolves out to a 22-7 lead after one quarter.<BR><BR>Silver Bay, which got 25 points from 6-6 center Jack Connor, battled back in the second and limited the Wolves to three field goals, most of which came late in the stanza.<BR><BR>But after a halftime break, it was all-Ely and specifically all-Eric McDonald.<BR><BR>McDonald camped outside the three-point arc and fired away, hitting three straight and five-of-six in the third quarter. He wound up with eight treys in the half to finish with 10 for the game, tying a school record set by Charlie Scott two seasons ago.<BR><BR>He also became the sixth player in Ely history to reach 40 points in a game, joining Charlie and Tim Scott, Bob Berrini, Reed Petersen and Jim Herberg.<BR><BR>McDonald’s shooting and scoring spree nearly overshadowed a tremendous all-around effort from Scott, who topped the 1,700-point mark for his career last week.<BR><BR>Scott scored 21 points and snared 12 rebounds, and added nine assists and eight steals as well.<BR><BR>Nick Furnstahl added eight points while Kevin Hartshorn and Pat Lekatz chipped in with four points each for the Wolves.<BR><BR>Wolves 71, Maranatha Acad. 47<BR><BR>Ely outscored the Superior, Wisconsin-based school in all four quarters and won the Jan. 8 road game with ease.<BR><BR>Eric McDonald’s seven three-pointers gave the Wolves an advantage, and Scott added 24 points.<BR><BR>Furnstahl netted nine points and Mike Popesh wound up with four.<BR><BR>Wolves 74, Cherry 49<BR><BR>Ely shook off a slow start and pulled away from the overmatched Tigers.<BR><BR>The first half was a struggle at times for the Wolves, but a second-quarter surge gave them a 36-23 lead by halftime.<BR><BR>In the third quarter, the Wolves seized control and Scott began to warm up.<BR><BR>Scott, northeastern Minnesota’s leading scorer, had a game-high 29 points and 11 rebounds.<BR><BR>Eric McDonald had 26 points and Furnstahl finished with eight. Hartshorn poured in six points for the wolves.<BR><BR>Cherry was led by Josh Greenly, who had 14 points.<BR><BR>