On Tuesday, Jan. 4, the Pine City boys basketball team traveled to Isle. Isle and Onamia have joined together in a co-op, so this was the first time the Dragons played them with their new team setting. The Dragon boys came out eager and ready to play. They worked on perfecting some of the finer points in their game, and came out successful. Coach Kyle Allen complimented his team, saying, “We are working on new rotations heading into the game with Mille Lacs and our boys did a great job of responding to the newness of the circumstances. The chaos did not seem to have a negative effect on our players.” The Dragons still worked well as a team, despite the coaches trying new rotations. They came away with a solid victory, 84-19.
Dragons vs. Rush City
On Thursday, the Dragons traveled down to Rush City to play the Tigers. This was a big conference game. Both teams came ready to play and the entire crowd excited and expecting the win. The Dragons defense came out strong; they were on the ball and eager for a steal. Senior Cole Waxberg was able to get a steal right away in the game and take it down for a lay-up. The Dragons had the first basket of the game. It remained a close game the first half, with the Dragons staying in the lead by one or four points. They went into the half being up by one, 24-23.
Coming out the second half, the Dragon boys were able to continue doing what they had been the first half. They were dominant on the boards, with Senior Kameron Jusczak getting a total of 17 rebounds. Dylan Peterson, Lamont Sydney and Luke Wilson also contributed a good number of boards. The Dragon boys looked good as the past games where they competed against bigger schools now paying off and keeping them on track. The Dragons finished the game with a win against the Rush City Tigers with a score of 68-52.
Coach Allen commented, “Many people have made a point to go out of their way to inform me that they felt Rush City is the best team in the conference this year, so we had a bit of a chip on our shoulder heading into this game. We are proud that we have been able to secure the conference title four years in a row, and we are not ready to just roll over and hand it off to the next team. We are excited to fight for and work to earn another conference title this year. It is a part of the building of this program; we want to have the opportunity to compete year in and year out. We do not want to wait around for a ‘good group’ to come through. We want to develop and build so that every year we are giving ourselves a shot to compete.”
Coach Allen was proud of the team’s “efforts, concentration, and willingness to execute and perform.”
Lake Superior Classic
On Saturday, Jan. 8, the Dragon boys basketball team had the privilege of being invited to play in the Lake Superior Classic against Hermantown. This was the Dragons’ fourth game against a AAA school. Peterson scored the first bucket of the game, and they took an early lead against Hermantown. The first half was mostly played even by both teams, but Hermantown had a brief run before the end of the half to put the Dragons down 47-34. According to Coach Allen, being down at halftime has been one of the Dragons’ downfalls which resulted in being in a bit of a hole coming into the second half. Like previous games against the bigger schools, the Dragons found themselves in a too-little-too-late situation, and the game ended with Dragons falling to Hermantown 88-74.
Waxberg, Jusczuk, Wilson, and Peterson all contributed double digits as well as pulling down the rebounds. Waxberg and Wilson worked well seeing their teammates and had seven and five assists. Peterson also took a charge and Jusczak had a block.
The Dragons continue on the road this week and will go to Foley on Jan. 11, Ogilivie on Jan. 13, and then to Chisago Lakes on Jan. 14.