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Panthers boys sneak past Vikings

Chassell’s Thomas Loukus (center) dribbles the ball as Baraga’s Noah Hendrickson (11) and Ben Ekdahl (15) put pressure on him during a game Monday at the Ed Helakoski Gym in Chassell. (Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette)

CHASSELL — The Chassell Panthers and the Baraga Vikings boys’ basketball teams are no strangers on the court. They are similar in size, and in style of play – always churning out a good contest. Monday’s game between them fit the bill. It was their second meeting of the season, and the Panthers avenged a 51-46 loss in early December with a 51-38 victory.

Shots in the paint and strong rebounding were the Panthers’ keys to victory this time around.

“We did better on defense,” said Panthers coach Joel Larson. “We also got the ball inside, and limited them to one shot with strong rebounding on both ends of the court.”

On the other bench, Baraga coach Jon Boever expressed disappointment in his players knowing that this was a team that they had beaten this season.

“We shot poorly and got totally dominated in the rebounding category,” he said. “The majority of their points came off of second-chance shots and that is unacceptable. We played soft.”

Chassell (14-7) pulled out to a 15-11 lead after the first eight minutes, but Baraga (9-12) won the second quarter, 9-8. It was a 23-20 Panthers’ lead after two quarters of play.

The third quarter was the difference-maker in the contest. In the opening two minutes, the Panthers outscored the Vikings, 7-2, and extended their lead to 12 with the fourth quarter left to play.

“That was our best quarter as we were able to put some space between us and them,” Larson added.

While the Vikings seemingly bounced back and posted their best offensive drive in the fourth with 12 points, it was too little too late.

“We were able to score more points,” said Boever, “but that does no good if you can not stop them from doing the same.”

Grady Olson led the offensive charge for the Panthers with 17 points, much to the delight of his coach. Eli Danison followed with 10.

“Grady had a great game,” said Larson. “It was good to see.”

For the Vikings, Jayme Denomie was their top scorer with 17 points.

UP NEXT

Both teams will wrap up their regular seasons this week with one more game to play. On Thursday, Wakefield-Marenisco will travel to Chassell for a 7:15 p.m. tip off. On Friday, Superior Central will end their season at Baraga, with a start time of 7:15 p.m.

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