Small size, big impact

Vanderbeek connects from long-range, fuels 2-1 start for Ely boys

by Tom Coombe -

Patrick Vanderbeek isn’t the tallest player on the floor and is usually the shortest.
But at least early on this season, the 5-5 sophomore is making a giant-sized impact for the Ely Timberwolves.
In three games, Vanderbeek has already nailed 17 three-point baskets, including five in a 71-35 high school boys basketball victory over Hill City at the high school gymnasium.
Ely, 2-1, has carved a niche in Section 7A in recent years with its three-point shooting prowess and its up-tempo game, and Vanderbeek has proven to be a valuable addition in his first season in the starting lineup.
He connected six times from three-point range and helped fuel a second-half comeback as the Wolves downed Two Harbors in the season-opener.
In a Dec. 9 contest at Class AA International Falls, Vanderbeek sank another six triples, including a pivotal bomb during a second-half comeback that fell just short, as the Broncos escaped with a 56-55 decision.
Vanderbeek gives an already experienced Ely team another weapon as it looks to climb this winter in Section 7A.
“I think Pat has been a pleasant surprise for us at this point, ” said Ely Head Coach Tom McDonald. “He has been our most consistent offensive player and has also done a nice job for us on the defensive end. It has become apparent that he has been the focus of most of the teams we have played thus far and someone the defense has tried to take away from us.”
The Wolves lost a heartbreaker at International Falls but came back 18 hours later and hammered visiting Hill City...

Check out this week’s Sports & More in the Ely Echo for the rest of this article and so much more!