Ely girls edge past Bigfork
by Tom Coombe
The list of high-caliber teams in Section 7A high school girls basketball is long this winter.
But the Ely Timberwolves are doing more than holding their own against high-caliber competition.
Earlier this week, the Wolves went on the road and handed Bigfork only its second loss of the season.
After trailing early on, Ely came on and took the lead and made a narrow advantage hold up - pulling out a 50-43 victory.
It was the second consecutive win for the Wolves, who are now 13-2 for the winter.
Balance once again was key for Ely with junior Hannah Penke scoring 14 points to lead three Wolves in double digits.
Penke scored 10 of her points in the opening half, when Ely rallied to take a 29-22 lead at the break.
Bigfork (12-2) cut into the margin in the second half but never went on a sustained run regain the lead, in a battle where every possession mattered.
Junior Grace LaTourell hit four straight free throws late in the second half to secure the win, and she finished with 12 points for the night.
Also hitting double figures was senior Madeline Perry, who finished with 12 points.
Junior Sarah Visser and senior Madeline Kallberg both wound up with five points and both hit three-pointers for the winners.
Visser also came up big underneath, recording a team-high 10 rebounds to go with four steals.
Ely overcame a 23-point evening from the Huskies’ Memphys Tendrup.
Ely met Duluth Denfeld at home on Friday evening and is on the court again Monday, at Nashwauk-Keewatin. Looming is a Feb. 6 home date with state powerhouse and section favorite Mt. Iron-Buhl.
That’s part of a brutal February in which the Wolves also face tough matchups with Mesabi East, Floodwood, North Woods, Chisholm and South Ridge.
• Ely downed International Falls 70-31 in a Jan. 19 home matchup. The win completed a regular season sweep of the Class AA Broncos and the Wolves put together a huge second half.
Penke shook off a slow start and finished with 21 points on a seven-for-10 night from the field.
LaTourell added 16 points with seven rebounds and five assists, and Kallberg reached double figures with 12 points.
Perry contributed eight points, four rebounds and three assists and Clare Thomas snared eight rebounds.
Visser had seven rebounds and a team-best six-assists and five steals to go with three points.