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For Wolves, Scott leads the way

No matter who the Ely Timberwolves match up with this winter, there’s a good chance that the best player on the floor will be wearing an Ely uniform.In senior Tim Scott - who has a chance to become one of the few players in state history to score 2,000 points and collect 1,000 rebounds -the high school boys basketball team has one of the area’s top players.Scott, a three-year starter and all-conference selection and an all-area pick last year, leads the Timberwolves into the 2004-2005 campaign, which starts Tuesday night with a home game against local rival Babbitt-Embarrass (7:30 p.m., high school gymnasium).The Wolves have plenty of question marks after the graduation of several seniors who helped contributed to a 14-10 season in 2003-2004, but there are no questions about the talents of Scott, who averaged 24.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per contest.Ely will look to the 6-3 Scott in all areas, according to 15th-year head coach Tom McDonald.“I think just having him will make us real competitive,” said McDonald. “He pretty much can do everything. He can score. He can rebound. He’s our best defender. I think one of the most important things about him is he’ll draw so much attention that the other guys will be able to step up.”Scott is easily the Wolves’ biggest offensive threat, but Ely will need more scoring punch in order to match last year’s record.A void was left by the graduation of Drew Hanson, both a defensive stopper and Ely’s second-leading scorer a year ago.The Wolves will look down low to 6-2 senior Mike Popesh for points in the paint, and 5-10 junior Eric McDonald - the son of the head coach - can score from long range.“Hopefully Eric and Popesh will give us some more scoring,” said Tom McDonald. “Popesh inside and Eric outside. And we’ve got a couple of slashing-type people in (Nick) Furnstahl and (Steve) Milkovich who can go to the basket.”Milkovich (6-0) and Furnstahl (5-11), both juniors, were part of an Ely B-squad that went 19-1 last year. They’ll both move up and see varsity time.Senior Kevin Hartshorn (5-11) was a valuable reserve for the Wolves last year, and fellow senior Luke Spangler (6-2) is also battling for playing time.Others looking to contribute are junior Ryan Bagnal (6-3) and freshman Pat Lekatz (5-10).“We have a lack of size,” said McDonald. “If we run into a big team we’re going to have some trouble.”Tuesday’s game with the Knights kicks off a 23-game schedule for Ely, which again competes at the Class AA level in Minnesota’s four-division system.Ely’s schedule is loaded with small-school (Class A) opponents such as Babbitt-Embarrass, Cook, Tower-Soudan, Mt. Iron-Buhl and Orr, but the docket also includes contests with AA foes such as Two Harbors, Virginia, Eveleth-Gilbert, Duluth Marshall and International Falls.Section 7AA is loaded with talent, including perennial powers Crosby-Ironton and Esko and two teams - Virginia and Moose Lake-Willow River - that McDonald believes will make some noise.“I would think a lot of teams think they have a chance, with us not being one of them,” said McDonald. “We could knock somebody off, but I’m hoping we can just be competitive.”

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