Taller Warriors too much for NorthwesternTigers play Cumberland at 5:30 p.m. today
The Northwestern High School boys basketball team faced the Rice Lake Warriors Tuesday night in a holiday tournament at Rice Lake High School.
Rice Lake used its superior height and experience to put on a show, throwing down dunks and swatting away shots inside as the Warriors (7-0) claimed an 84-54 victory over the Tigers (3-3).
“They’re a very, very good team,” said NHS coach Dave Gustafson. The Tigers struggled to match-up with Rice Lake’s taller players, he said, and none of the defensive sets Northwestern tried could slow down the Warriors.
Somerset defeated Cumberland 47-37 in the earlier game Tuesday. The Tigers will face off against Cumberland at 5:30 p.m. today, and the host Warriors will play Somerset at 7:30 p.m.
The Warriors, ranked No. 3 among Division 2 schools in this week’s AP poll, started the first quarter with a 7-0 run. Nolan Graff cut through the Warriors for a layup to get the Tigers on the board, 7-2, and shortly afterward a 3-pointer from Dylan Jardine and free throw from Graff made it 10-6 in favor of the Warriors. Rice Lake then closed out the first quarter with two dunks and two layups to lead 18-10.
Alex Cuskey scored the first five points of the second quarter to give Rice Lake a 23-10 lead. Rice Lake seemed poised to pull away, but the Warriors picked up their seventh team foul midway through the quarter, and Jardine went 4-of-4 from the line to keep Northwestern in the game.
Rice Lake led by 17 points at halftime and stretched its lead to 21 three minutes in the third quarter on a pair of 3-pointers from freshman Henry Ellenson. The youngest of the three Ellenson brothers finished the quarter scoring 12 of the Warriors’ 26 points.
Northwestern wasn’t able to cut into Rice Lake’s lead in the final quarter, despite going 6-of-6 from the free-throw line and hitting three 3-point shots.
Jardine led the Tigers in scoring with 11 points, while Justin Alexson and Graff added 10 points each. Micah Olson gave Northwestern valuable play off the bench to finish with seven points, Grant Pearson had six, Mat Hlina had five, Gabe Dinkel had three and Brayden Bartelt had two.
Dinkel, a senior, was playing in his first game this season since recovering from a knee injury.
“It will be nice to have him back for the rest of the year,” Gustafson said.
Northwestern 10 13 14 17 — 54
Rice Lake 18 22 26 18 — 84
Northwestern — Dylan Jardine 11, Justin Alexson 10, Nolan Graff 10, Micah Olson 7, Grant Pearson 6, Matt Hlina 5, Gabe Dinkel 3, Brayden Bartelt 2.
3-point goals —Alexson 2, Jardine, Hlina, Olson, Graff, Dinkel.
Rice Lake — Henry Ellenson 22, Alex Cuskey 20, Wally Ellenson 8, Drew Buergi 8, Adam West 6, Danny Leal 6, Patrick Elza 5, Cameron Terrell 4, Joe Shervey 2, Brandyn Christman 2, Ellwood Ellenson 1.
3-point goals —H. Ellenson 4, West, Elza.