Sports

Fri
13
Mar

Wolves fade in second half

by Tom Coombe
An untimely drought spoiled the Ely Timberwolves’ bid for a drmatic playoff upset Wednesday night.
Leading 55-47 with 11 minutes to go, the Wolves would score only one basket the rest of the way and three-time defending champion North Woods went on a 25-2 run to pull out a 72-57 Section 7A boys basketball semifinal win at the Hibbing Memorial Arena.
“We outplayed them until the end,” said Ely Head Coach Tom McDonald.
Ely, which finished 23-6, led 43-36 at the half and by as many as 13 points early in the game.
A Will Davies three-pointer gave the Wolves an eight-point lead at 55-47, but the Wolves went cold while the second-seeded Grizzlies went inside, to senior center Trevor Morrison and talented junior Darius Goggleye.
They combined for 23 of their 38 points in the second half, many in the decisive run that included a Goggleye bucket that put the Grizzlies ahead to stay at 56-55.

Fri
06
Mar

Wolves cruise into the quarters

by Tom Coombe
The Ely Timberwolves left no doubt.
Living up to its high seed, the Wolves raced out of the gate against Hill City and never looked back - scoring 57 first-half points in an 84-46 Section 7A high school boys basketball playoff victory on Wednesday night.
The home was was Ely’s 22nd of the season - against just five defeats - and set up a 7A quarterfinal game with Mt. Iron-Buhl at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Hibbing’s Memorial Building.
Ely has defeated the sixth-seeded Rangers by double digits on two occasions this season, and a third win would set up a semifinal showdown, most likely with three-time defending 7A titleist North Woods - on March 11.
In reaching the quarterfinal round, the Wolves had little resistance from a Hill City team they pounded in similar fashion early in the year.
Four Wolves scored in double figures, with senior Dylan Fenske adding to his 1,000-point-plus total with 18 in his final game on the home floor.

Fri
06
Mar

Ironmen swept in season debut

The Vermilion Ironmen aren’t easing their way into the 2020 community college baseball season.
In advance of a Florida trip that includes three contests with nationally-rated opponents, Vermilion opened the 2020 season Feb. 27 - under the roof at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis- against perennial power Rochester.
A final-four team in the region last spring, the Yellowjackets used superior depth and strong pitching to score a 7-2, 6-0 sweep.
Rochester pitchers walked only two batters in the late-night, early-morning twinbill while Vermilion pitchers combined to issue 21 free passes.
That was the difference in the games.
“We just walked way too many people to have a chance to win,” said Vermilion Head Coach Tom Coombe. “What’s amazing is we were competitive in the first game until late in the game despite walking so many.”

Fri
28
Feb

Ely speech team competes at Mesabi East

Ely speech coach DonnaKari said the team “made a spectacular showing at the Mesabi East meet on February 22. Not only did the students all place, but they brought home the third place team trophy. Pictured are: (back l-r): Cora Olson, 1st in duo, Esther Anderson, 1st in extemp reading, Maggie Dammann, 2nd in extemp reading, Harry Dammann. 5th in creative, Tori Sawyer 2nd in creative and 3rd in poetry, Kaya Sawyer, 4th in extemp reading. Front: Sydney Marshall, 1st in duo and Laura Holmstrom, 2nd in extemp speaking.

Fri
28
Feb

This year, the dogs beat the heat

by Tom Coombe
Mild temperatures made for near-perfect conditions for spectators and did little to slow down the dogs at last weekend’s WolfTrack Classic.
The 12th running of the sled dog race was a hit - with hundreds of people turning out for Sunday’s races held under sunny skies and near 40-degree conditions.
While some dogs cooled down by rolling in the snow at the finish area near Ely’s softball complex, they set a blazing pace on the course with a team led by Michael Bestgen claiming the eight-dog, 50-mile race with a time of four hours, 36 minutes, 26 seconds.
Bestgen was first among eight mushers.
The six-dog race went for 30 miles and included 23 mushers, with Jim Ward’s team holding off Nick Turman’s team by 16 seconds to take the title.
Weather was one of the big stories of this year’s event, with the warm temperatures in sharp contrast to a 2019 event marked by sub-zero temperatures and brutal winds.

Fri
21
Feb

Ely Peewee team advances to Regionals

Ely started the district playoffs with a 6-3 win against 7th seeded Grand Rapids B2, followed by an intense second game versus the 3rd seed, Virginia, which Ely came out victorious 9-6. After a tough loss 8-3 for the championship, to the #1 seed, Grand Rapids B1, the Ely Peewee B's fought back hard in their final game against Hibbing-Chisholm, to take the #2 seed in district 12, with an 8-3 win & advance to the region competition. The Ely Peewees, coached by Nicole Carlson, Bill Forsberg and Justin Zemke, will be going on to the regions tournament, being held in Moose Lake, February 28-29 and March 1. Ely’s first game is against the #1 seed from district 16, East Grand Forks, at 11:45 a.m. on the Feb. 28.

Fri
21
Feb

State was worth the wait

by Tom Coombe
Maybe good things really do come to those who wait.
The Ely Nordic Wolves had to wait a bit, but the results at last week’s state ski meet made it all worth it.
After cold weather pushed the meet back a full day and timing issues led to delays the day of the event, the Wolves emerged by meeting - and even exceeding - their high hopes.
Junior Jasper Johnston finished fourth overall and the Ely boys finished fourth as a team, while the girls got an all-state performance from freshman Zoe Devine and a ninth-place team showing at the single-class state event, held Feb. 14 at Giants Ridge near Biwabik.
Johnston, now a three-time all-stater, moved up after taking 11th as a sophomore and met his season-long goal of reaching the top-five at state.

Fri
14
Feb

Playoffs next for Ely skaters

by Tom Coombe
Can lightning strike for the second time in as many years?
Could the third time be the charm?
Those are the questions hovering over the Ely Timberwolves today, as they open the Section 7A hockey playoffs at Proctor.
It was 52 weeks ago today that the Wolves stunned the hockey world and heavily favored International Falls, beating the Broncos for the first time in school history and recording an improbable playoff win.
The odds may be even more daunting this year.
Ely, which finished the regular season 3-15, is seeded 10th in the 10-team section just as it was a year ago.
But this year, the Wolves have the youngest team in the state and haven’t been competitive against the seventh-seeded Rails.
Proctor (10-14) beat the Wolves 14-3 in a holiday tournament encounter on the North Shore and cruised to a 10-1 victory Jan. 21 in Ely.

Fri
14
Feb

Wolves’ Fenske hits 1,000

by Tom Coombe
Dylan Fenske wasn’t leaving any doubt.
Needing 28 points to get 1,000 for his high school boys basketball career, the Ely senior got all 28 in the first half of Tuesday’s 98-31 rout of overmatched Lakeview Christian Academy.
The 6-2 senior seemingly couldn’t miss early on, and his teammates fed him the ball inside- where he ate up the Lions and became another in a growing list of Ely 1,000-point scorers.
It was an improbable journey, but one that Fenske took on - showing improvement in each season in an Ely uniform and becoming one of the section’s top all-around players in his final campaign.
“Dylan has really made himself into a player over the years,” said Ely Head Coach Tom McDonald. “He has very good feet and a nice looking shot which and has become more and more aggressive. At a younger age there is no way we would be talking about him becoming a 1000 point scorer. ”

Fri
07
Feb

Hockey jamboree means business

by Tom Coombe
Some hockey road trips spawned an idea.
The idea became reality and now Ely is home to another winter event that brings hundreds of people to town.
Now five years old, Ely’s Howler Jamboree brings youth hockey players of that age - and a few years older - to town for two days of fun.
Starting Saturday and using arenas both in Ely and Babbitt, the event includes 15 teams, about 200 skaters and coaches, and at least that many more family members and fans.
“It will be a packed house” said DeLana Forsberg, who helps coordinate the event for the Ely Blue Line Club.
The jamboree brings Mini-Mite and Mite teams together in a classic format, with 23 games in all - most at the Ely Arena.
Players range in age from Kindergarten to first grade for the Minis, and second and third grade for the Mites, and Ely will host multiple teams from the International Falls, Mesabi East and Virginia programs.

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