Sports

Fri
26
Feb

Turnovers fuel 62-12 Ely victory

by Tom Coombe
Ely’s high school girls basketball team created turnover after turnover Feb. 18 at Babbitt.
The result was the Timberwolves’ third win of the winter.
Full-court pressure resulted in numerous steals and led to errant passes and traveling by Northeast Range, which was held to just two first-half baskets in the Arrowhead Conference affair.
Ely built a massive 35-6 lead by halftime and was on its way to a 62-12 romp.
The Timberwolves have won two of their last three games and are now 3-6 for the season.
Northeast Range was never able to get on track offensively, and Ely’s defensive pressure was the difference.
Madeline Kallberg scored 13 of her game-high 19 points in the opening half, and wreaked havoc at the top of the press while gaining a series of layups.

Fri
26
Feb

Visitors foil hockey’s return to Babbitt Arena

It didn’t end with a victory, but high school boys hockey made a triumphant return of sorts to Babbitt.
Ron Castellano Arena was alive again Feb. 19, when the Ely Timberwolves hosted Bagley in what was only the second boys contest there in 27 years.
The visiting Flyers downed the Timberwolves 5-1, but nearly 200 fans came out to the fabled arena for the game.
The Timberwolves celebrated senior night and moved the contest to Babbitt to honor their only senior - Jimmy Zupancich.
Zupancich attends Northeast Range, but the two schools are combined in hockey and the Timberwolves opted to hold a home game in Babbitt this winter to recognize the senior.
His parents were introduced prior to the game, and family members as well as Northeast Range schoolmates were part of the gathering.
Zupancich also had a hand in the Wolves’ only goal - a second period tally by freshman Chase Anderson.

Fri
19
Feb

Girls gain second victory

by Tom Coombe
The Ely Timberwolves overcame turnovers to gain their second win of the season, but South Ridge put a quick stop to any hopes for a winning streak.
Ely upended North Woods 46-38 in a Feb. 11 girls basketball matchup at the high school gymnasium, but South Ridge went on a 32-0 run in the first half on the way to a 67-18 rout on Tuesday.
The Timberwolves are now 2-6 for the winter.
Ely rallied to take a halftime lead against the visiting Grizzlies, and that edge held up in the second half of a foul and turnover-filled game.
Ninth-grader Grace LaTourell had 11 of her 16 points in the second half, with two of her three three-pointers coming during the stanza.
The Grizzlies pulled to within three points at 35-32 with nine minutes left, but only scored six points the rest of the way as Ely created numerous turnovers.

Fri
19
Feb

LaTourell scores 22 in road ‘W’

by Tom Coombe
It was Brock LaTourell’s turn to carry the load.
In a season when all five Ely starters have shown the capability of scoring in bunches, LaTourell led the way on Tuesday in a 58-53 high school boys basketball victory over Mt. Iron-Buhl.
LaTourell drained four of his five three-point baskets in the opening half and finished with a team-high 22 points as the visiting Wolves completed a regular-season sweep of the Rangers and improved to 6-2.
“Brock kept us in the game in the first half as he shot really well and hit four of his five ‘threes’ in the half,” said Ely Head Coach Tom McDonald. “We defended well enough to stay in the game but it was Brock who kept us in it offensively.”
The teams traded momentum and control throughout the night at Mt. Iron, with the Rangers taking a 29-26 lead at halftime.

Fri
12
Feb

Howler-No Howler jamboree safely held during Coronavirus pandemic

Holding a hockey tournament during a pandemic is no easy task but the Ely Blue Line was up to the task.
Due to Covid restrictions youth hockey teams are already trying to squeeze in as many games as they can with district games a priority.
“If you hosted a jamboree, that would mean you would have 2-3 days less available to schedule district games, in an already shortened seasons,” explained the DeLana Forsberg of the Ely Blue Line. “Yes, the season was extended a few weeks, but time became ‘constricted’ with all the games for PeeWees, Squirts and High School games, so associations adjusted with dropping the jamborees.”
Ely has traditionally hosted a very popular “Howler” tournament and this year the scheduling had to be creative.

Fri
12
Feb

Bianco scores 39 for Ely boys

by Tom Coombe
In a season-opening win last month, Ely’s high school boys basketball team showed off its balance with five starters scoring in double figures.
More recently, the Timberwolves have proven those starters can be explosive as well.
The latest was sophomore Joey Bianco, who erupted for a career-high 34 points Tuesday in an 84-58 win over Lakeview Christian Academy.
Bianco took it right at the Lions during the matchup at Cotton, and they had no answer as Ely pulled away in the second half for its second straight victory.
“Joey had 19 two-pointers and most were attacking the basket in transition,” said Ely Head Coach Tom McDonald. “He was also in the post offensively and I thought his teammates did a good job finding him in there.”
Bianco nearly reached the 40-point milestone and displayed that Ely opponents face a tough dilemma: defending against a lineup that features several potent scorers.

Fri
05
Feb

Welcome back, Jasper

by Tom Coombe
Jasper Johnston didn’t miss a beat.
The Ely senior was absent from the Nordic Wolves’ first two meets of the season because of some regional CXC level events, but he was back in the lineup for event number three: the Jan. 28 Ely Skiathlon at Hidden Valley.
To no one’s surprise, Johnston won the 7.2-kilometer freestyle/classic skiathlon, completing the course in 20:15 to take first with ease.
Johnston’s finish wasn’t enough to secure a team win as the Wolves were second in the three-team event and two points shy of Cloquet-Esko-Carlton.
The Wolves claimed the team title in the girls event, with Zoe Devine claiming the top spot in 25:31.
Brutally cold weather - including overnight temperates of 27-below - prompted a one-hour delay in the event but by start time at noon the temperate was above zero and the sun was shining at Hidden Valley.
It made for a good day for both Ely teams.

Fri
29
Jan

Ivancich wins state coaching award

The Ely Timberwolves never set foot on the baseball field during a high school baseball season waylayed by COVID-19, but the efforts of their longtime head coach did not go unnoticed.
Frank Ivancich, who has led the program since 2002 and guided the Wolves to four state tournament berth and six section finals appearances in the last decade, was named State Class A Coach of the Year by the Minnesota High School Baseball Coaches Association.
The recognition came earlier this month, was announced during a virtual state coaches’ clinic and caught Ivancich, 56, off guard.
“I was on the virtual clinic, and they were saying that they decided to give some awards out and that they were honoring four coaches for coach of the year,” Ivancich said Wednesday. “I was cooking breakfast and all of a sudden I heard my name. I was as shocked as anyone.”
The MHSBCA opted to continue with its yearly awards and Ivancich was a natural fit for the state honor.

Fri
22
Jan

Balanced attack, perfect start

by Tom Coombe
Opposing teams are finding out quickly that they can’t focus their defensive attention on just one or two Ely Timberwolves.
Indeed, the Wolves’ entire lineup is capable of scoring in bunches.
That’s one big reason why the high school boys basketball team is off to an impressive 2-0 start.
All five starters scored in double figures as the Wolves dominated the second half en route to a Jan. 15, season-opening, 75-58 triumph over Mt. Iron-Buhl.
The same held true Saturday, as sophomore Joey Bianco poured in 26 points and four other starters reached double-digits in a 95-50 blowout of Bigfork.
While Nashwauk-Keewatin, North Woods and even Mt. Iron-Buhl commanded much of the preseason attention in Section 7A, the Wolves showed in the season’s opening weekend that they’ll be a force to contend with.

Fri
22
Jan

Skaters come up short in debut

by Tom Coombe
Ely’s high school hockey team returned to the ice Jan. 16 but fell 5-1 to Burnett County (Wis.) in a COVID-delayed season-opener.
The Timberwolves, who have only one senior and one junior, will be the youngest team on the ice in all of their 15 contests this winter but they were competitive for much of the contest with the Blizzard, who had already played about a dozen games and had numerous upperclassmen.
The most impressive was junior captain Dane Tollander, who had a natural hat trick and finished with four of his team’s five goals.
Senior Jimmy Zupancich had the only goal for the Wolves, a third-period tally aided by eighth-grader Jack Mathias and sophomore Jakson Hegman.
On a quiet afternoon at the Ely Arena, with attendance limited because of COVID restrictions, the visitors got on the board first.

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