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Ely girls improve to 7-1

Ely girls basketball.
Girls basketball photos by Eric Sherman.

by Tom Coombe

Ely’s high school girls basketball team has not been tested of late.

But that should soon change.

On Tuesday, for the third time in as many games, the Timberwolves dominated an overmatched opponent and sent the game into running time.

Ely scored 40 straight points to open  the home contest, racked up a 53-8 lead by halftime, and rolled to an 86-31 rout of visiting Littlefork-Big Falls.

The win was the Wolves’ sixth straight and gave them a 7-1 record for the year.

Ely is also rated third among nearly 20 teams in Section 7A in the points system used for playoff seeding.

Tuesday’s victory was not competitive and followed a pair of holiday tournament games where the Wolves won by 50 or more points.

The road is about to get much more difficult, however, with a road tilt at Duluth Marshall (Jan. 17) kicking off a three-game stretch that also figures to include tough battles with Class AA International Falls (Jan. 19), and Bigfork (Jan 23).

Further ahead is a Target Center (Feb. 4) meeting with Two Harbors, the only team to have beaten the Wolves this winter, followed by a Feb. 6 date with section and state powerhouse Mt. Iron-Buhl.

That stretch may determine where the Wolves rank among the list of contenders hoping to end MIB’s long reign atop 7A.

As of Wednesday, the top-five teams in 7A were: Mt. Iron-Buhl  (8-2), Cromwell (8-1), Ely (7-1), Chisholm (10-3) and Bigfork (10-1).

Also looming is South Ridge (5-2), which was ranked among the top-20 teams in Class A to open the season and fell victim to an Ely upset in last year’s 7A quarterfinals.

Ely 86, Littlefork-Big Falls 31

The Wolves scored layup after layup to open the home game, often converting one of their nearly 30 steals into two points.

It was 40-0 before the Vikings (1-7) got on the board with a three-point shot, and the outcome had long been since decided.

Junior Hannah Penke scored 16 of her game-high 20 points in the opening half. She added five steals.

Sophomore Clare Thomas came off the bench to add 10 points for the Wolves, while adding eight rebounds to  come close to a double-double.

Madeline Perry, a senior, added 10 points and six steals and junior Grace LaTourell hit double digits with 10 points to go with six rebounds and six steals.

Junior Sarah Visser was everywhere on the stat chart, netting eight points to go with team-highs in rebounds (eight), assists (six) and steals (six).

Maizy Sundbland contributed seven points for the winners and teammates Madeline Kallberg and Maija Mattson wound up with six points each.

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