Girls sink Mariners, advance to face Bigfork
by Tom Coombe
Ely’s high school girls basketball team moved into the quarterfinal round of the Section 7A playoffs with a dominant home performance on Wednesday.
The Timberwolves racked up 68 first-half points on the way to a 101-32 thrashing of Silver Bay Wednesday night at the high school gymnasium.
Ely, seeded third in Section 7A, moved to 22-4 for the winter and advanced into a Saturday quarterfinal clash with sixth-seeded Bigfork, slated for 5:30 p.m. at the Hibbing Memorial Arena.
Ely (22-4) had little trouble completing a season sweep of the visiting Mariners and putting them away early in the playoff clash.
By halftime, the Wolves led 68-14 and the contest was essentially over.
Senior Madeline Perry had 20 of her game-high 24 points in the opening half and senior Madeline Kallberg also helped the Wolves put the game away early.
Kallberg poured in a season-best 20 points, with 16 coming in the decisive opening half.
Junior Hannah Penke contributed another 19 points for the Wolves, who ran away with things in the second half in running time, and classmate Grace LaTourell added 10 first-half points on the way to 12 for the night. Clare Thomas, a sophomore, chipped in another seven points for the winners.
Junior Sarah Visser also had a big evening for the Wolves, adding nine rebounds, six assists and five steals.
Perry had a team-high eight steals and Audrey Kallberg wound up with seven rebounds.
It was Penke who was on fire in the Feb. 24 regular season finale with South Ridge.
She hit a state-record for girls with eight straight three-point baskets without a miss in Ely’s 71-52 home victory.
The win secured the number-three playoff seed for the Wolves, who also avenged a regular season loss to the Panthers last winter and followed up on an upset win in last year’s 7A quarterfinals.
Ely controlled the tempo of the home game and secured the win with its three-point shooting.
Not only did Penke go eight-for-eight to set a state record, but LaTourell finished four-for-six from beyond the arc.
LaTourell contributed 14 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the winners, while Perry scored 14 points with four assists.
Visser notched six points, five rebounds and three steals for the Wolves.
• A win in Saturday’s quarterfinal round would send the Wolves into the 7A final four for a second straight season and a likely meeting, on Tuesday at Hibbing, with Cromwell. Ely lost by seven to the Cardinals in last year’s 7A semifinal round.