McDonald fuels fast start; Senior scores 32 in back-to-back games as Wolves go to 3-0

by Tom Coombe -

Adam McDonald is at full strength and the Ely Timberwolves have another potent weapon.
Injured for much of his junior campaign, the Ely senior is making up for lost time this winter and has quickly emerged as a big-time scorer.
How big? McDonald had back-to-back, 32-point games as the unbeaten Timberwolves downed International Falls and Hill City on successive days.
McDonald’s breakout season has keyed a 3-0 Ely start, including an 89-35 laugher at Hill City last Saturday.
The night before, Ely beat a solid Class AA International Falls team 76-61.
Primarily a three-point shooter in his initial varsity outings, McDonald has become an all-around scoring threat in his final prep campaign.
His dad, Ely Head Coach Tom McDonald, noted the transition.
“With Adam, he does give us another weapon on the floor,” said Tom McDonald. “Adam has done a nice job of getting to the basket and mixing that up and hitting his ‘threes.”
McDonald remains a threat to hit from long-range. He hit three of Ely’s nine triples against International Falls.
The Wolves bucked the Broncos Dec. 8, however, by getting off to a fast start and mixing their long-range game with transition buckets and its half-court offense.
With Carter Gaulke and Patrick Vandeerbeek also looming as outside threats, McDonald was able to hit from the free throw line and drive near the baseline to burn the visitors’ defense.
Ely led 47-30 at halftime and maintained its double-digit advantage to keep International Falls at bay.
Gaulke continued a strong start with a 23-point effort while adding eight rebounds and six assists.
Junior Trevor Mattson complemented his usual shutdown defense with nine points, while Vanderbeek added six points and Eric Omerza finished with five.
“Right now with our team is that everyone has been a threat to score on the floor,” said Tom McDonald.
Taylor Wilson scored 17 points and Armando Barrios finished with 15 for International Falls.
Ely had no trouble putting Hill City away in Saturday’s game.
McDonald’s 32-point outburst paced the Ely offense. He also snared six rebounds.
Senior Blaise Lah had 13 rebounds and seven steals, while Gaulke dished out nine assists and had five rebounds.
• Ely was set to take on top-ranked Northwoods, the defending Section 7A champion, in a Friday night matchup at Cook.
It is the only regular season meeting this year between the Wolves and the Grizzlies, who were the state runner-up in 2017.
• The Wolves host Lake of the Woods on Thursday, Dec. 21, with a special 6 p.m. start time for the varsity game.
• Upsala, Cook County and Walker come to town as Ely revives its holiday tournament this winter.
Dates are Dec. 28-29, with Cook County taking on Walker at 5:30 p.m. in the opening round, with the nightcap between the Wolves and Upsala slated for 7:15 p.m.
The consolation game is set for 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 29, and the championship tilt is slated for 6:15 p.m.
• Northeast Range will not field a B-squad this winter. The Jan. 5 game between the Wolves and the Nighthawks is set for 6:30 p.m.