OT only blemish for Ely girls

by Tom Coombe
Ely’s high school girls basketball team is a missed free throw away from a perfect start.
Other than a late collapse that resulted in an overtime defeat to Two Harbors last weekend, it has been smooth sailing for the Timberwolves, who improved to 4-1 Tuesday night with a 60-24 romp at Silver Bay.
The lopsided win eased some of the sting from Saturday, when a shorthanded Ely team ran out of gas in the second half as a 16-point lead went by the wayside and the visiting Agates rallied for a 51-47 win.
Ely missed several free throws late in regulation and a last-second basket forced overtime, where the Wolves again struggled at the free throw line.
Ely went 17-for-40 from the line, which set the stage for a tough finish.
“This was a heartbreaker game where our girls held a lead until the last second of regulation,” said Ely Head Coach Darren Visser. “We played this game short handed but our girls worked extremely hard all game and just weren’t able to hang on in the end.
“Poor free-throw shooting and a very aggressive Two Harbors defense just proved to be too much in the end.
“I do believe that this will be a game that will prove to be a great learning experience for our younger players.”
Senior standout Brielle Kallberg missed the Two Harbors game, but the Wolves built a commanding lead early on nonetheless.
Senior guard Erika Mattson scored 14 points to go with eight assists and five steals, and freshman Madeline Perry reached double figures with 10 points.
Ely also rebounded well, with freshman Rachel Coughlin grabbing 15 boards and senior Winter Sainio next with 11. They also combined for another 11 points, while eighth-grader Grace LaTourell scored five points and sophomore Ande Visser was next with four.
It was senior scoring night Tuesday at Silver Bay, as Mattson and Kallberg had 20 points each and Sainio added another 10.
Sainio had 11 rebounds to finish with the double-double and Mattson (64 percent) and Kallberg (56 percent) sizzled from the field.
• The Wolves also beat Int. Falls 65-44 in a Dec. 6 home tilt, with Mattson scoring 28 points to lead all scorers.
Kallberg contributed 16 points to the cause, with Sainio (eight) and Perry (six) net.
• Next up is a Monday night home game with Chisholm, followed by a Dec. 20 rematch at Two Harbors.