Dramatic win for Wolves

Ely outlasts Duluth Marshall 58-56, then blasts Wrenshall

by Tom Coombe
The Ely Timberwolves’ biggest win of the year was a heartstopping, and in the case of Mason Davis, toothshaking.
Less than a minute after a collision knocked him out of the game, and knocked two teeth from his mouth, Davis returned to the floor and picked up a key steal and basket that helped preserve a thrilling 58-56 win over Duluth Marshall.
Saturday’s win, which came with dramatic momentum shifts down the home stretch, came against a Marshall team that was ranked fourth in Section 7A.
It came after a 72-49 loss at Mt. Iron-Buhl the night before and may have sent a message that the Wolves (9-6) can compete against the teams in the upper echelon of a stacked section.
“I think it was a great game for us and proved we can play with the better teams when we combine good defense with good offensive possessions,” said Ely Head Coach Tom McDonald.
Junior guard Joey Bianco took over at times for the Wolves, scoring a game-high 30 points and securing eight rebounds in the win.
Bianco and senior guard Harry Simons both nailed key baskets for the Wolves in the second half, as Ely warmed up from the three-point stripe.
A Simons triple extended the upset-minded Wolves’ lead to 54-47, but the Hilltoppers’ Spencer Timm drained back-to-back three-pointers to make it a one-point game.
With just over a minute to go, a wild scramble for a loose ball sent Davis to the gym floor. The collision left Davis with both a gash and in need of dental work immediately after the game.
But the senior wasn’t done for the night. After cleaning up, he was back in the game and intercepted a pass with 30 seconds left and came up with a game-deciding layup.
Ely needed the points as it misfired on numerous opportunities to close the game out at the free throw line.
“We hit some big shots down the stretch but will need to get better at the line as we were two-for-10 in the last 1:46.”
Simons added 16 points for the Wolves and juinor forward Erron Anderson had 10 rebounds.
The Wolves kept right on rolling Tuesday, scoring a 73-51 win over Wrenshall, which earlier this season beat Duluth Marshall.
Ely’s pressure was too much for the Wrens (8-6) as the Wolves had 16 steals in the game and forced over 20 turnovers.
It was 34-28 at halftime and the Wolves went on a big run to start the second half, opening up a 20-point lead and eventually leading by as many as 29.
“We had 16 steals with our pressure and many led to easy baskets for us which we haven’t had in awhile. I thought it was a nice defensive effort along with some great balance on the offensive end,” said McDonald.
Junior Jason Kerntz caught fire from the outside, hitting three triples in the opening half and five in the game on the way to a career-high 21 points.
Bianco was next with 19 points and he added 10 assists while finishing one rebound shy of a triple-double.
The Wolves had four players in double digits overall, with Simons scoring 15 points - all in the second half - and Davis pouring in 14. Anderson finished with 10 rebounds.
• Ely was set to take on Littlefork-Big Falls on Friday night and is idle until a Feb. 4 home meeting with Eveleth-Gilbert.
It’s the last-ever meeting between the Wolves and the Golden Bears, who join Virginia next year as part of the new Rock Ridge school.