Pine City’s varsity basketball squad fell this week to a highly-ranked Mora team, then responded with a dominating win over Isle.
Mora 60, Pine City 46
Coach Kyle Allen noted that coming into the game, Mora was ranked #3 in state – and deservedly so.
“They have a great group of seniors to go along with a 6’8” junior,” Allen said. “They play well as a team and really stick to their strengths as both individuals and as a group.”
Allen said the first half showcased what the Dragons can do as a team this year. The team found themselves down by just three points going into the break.
“Our energy was great, our execution was good, and I was excited for the second half of the game,” Allen said. “Unfortunately, our energy at the start of the second half was poor and our execution was even worse.”
Mora went on an 11-0 run to start the second half, and though the Dragons were able to cut it to single digits many times in the second half, that lead proved to be too much to overcome.
Allen said he was very proud of how the boys picked themselves up after that terrible start to the second half and continued to compete from that point on.
“We never gave in and kept fighting,” Allen said. “I am proud to coach any team that refuses to give in.”
He noted that Kameron Jusczak and Dylan Petersen led the Dragons on the boards with nine apiece. Petersen and Luke Wilson each took a charge in the game.
“We asked Caleb Fromm and Jason Thieman to guard on the perimeter, something we often ask of them,” Allen said. “I thought both were up to the task and both continued to execute and lead on that end of the court. Cole Waxberg got hot from deep in the second half, a nice jump start to what we needed, and our guys did a great job of finding him in those spots.”
Pine City 80, Isle 23
Allen said the game against Isle might be one of the most complete games his Dragons have ever played in his tenure at Pine City.
“I was so proud of our boys and how they really concentrated on the process,” Allen said. “The numbers at the end of the game – the things that we say are the most important – really spoke for themselves. I was so proud of this group for sticking to the game plan and not allowing any outside noises to negatively affect them.”
Allen said the game was close at the beginning, but defense and rebounding soon got the ball rolling.
“While Isle only committed three fouls in the game and we were only able to shoot one free throw, we continued to try to execute our game plan and concepts,” he said. “I loved how the boys responded and continued to be diligent in our system.”
Allen lauded Luke Wilson for an incredible game which brought him very close to a triple-double – nine points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists.
“He also added five steals to go to that stat line with only one turnover,” Allen said. “His showcase of concentrating on what is important to our program shined on Friday night.”
Following Wilson on the boards were Cole Waxberg with seven, and Dylan Petersen, Jason Thieman, and Kameron Jusczak with five each. Charlie Ausmus took the lone charge in the game while Petersen helped Wilson on the offensive end pacing the Dragons with seven assists. Waxberg continued his hot streat from outside, hitting seven more threes on the night.