Little rest for the Wolves; Another cancellation creates busy home stretch to end year

by Tom Coombe -

Mesabi East proved to be a difficult opponent for Ely’s high school boys basketball team, but Mother Nature could very well stack up as the Timberwolves’ toughest foe of the winter.
Tuesday night’s game with Lakeview Christian Academy was the third contest scrapped because of weather conditions in the last three weeks.
It made a rugged home stretch of the regular season an even more daunting one for Ely, which is fighting for seeding position in Section 7A.
Ely made up its contest with LCA, which is ranked second among 18 7A teams, after deadline on Thursday.
That was just the start of a killer 16-day run that includes seven games, several against highly-regarded teams.
The Wolves were set to host Chisholm Friday, and they travel to Mt. Iron-Buhl Tuesday with an eye on avenging a January defeat.
Throw in a neutral-site, Feb. 23 game in Coleraine against Section 8A contender Sacred Heart (14-6), and the Wolves should be more than ready for whatever playoff basketball has to offer.
Ely is currently rated sixth in the section according to the formula used to determine playoff seeding and the Wolves hope to remain in the top-eight, which would ensure home-court advantage when the postseason starts Mar. 6.
Before yet another weather-induced break, the Wolves fell to Mesabi East 69-46 before a big Winter Frolic week crowd.
The Class AA Giants used their defense to control the Feb. 8 battle, bottling up Timberwolf senior standout Patrick Vandberbeek.
Vanderbeek was held to five points, and the Giants pulled away in the second half to secure the win.
The Giants (11-7) led 31-23 at the break.
Tyler Baribeau, Mesabi East’s 6-5 center,scored 25 points while Hunter Hannuksela added 18 points.
Carson Becicka finished with 13 and had the task of stopping Vanderbeek on defense.
Dylan Fenske paced Ely with 13 points and teammate Trevor Mattson netted 12.