The Pine River-Backus boys’ basketball team started the season 0-4 after losing to the host Northome-Kelliher Mustangs 69-53 in a Northland Conference game on Friday, Dec. 13.
The game was tied 30-30 at intermission before N-K pulled away in the second half. The game was a physical contest that saw the Mustangs excell with a combination of outside shooting and excellent rebounding.
“(Northome) had too many second chance opportunities,” said PR-B coach Shaun Howard. “Even when the shooting wasn’t on, they were able to pull down the offensive rebound and keep the ball on their end.”
The young Tigers are struggling as they play four of the first five games on the road. With four minutes left in the opening half, PR-B trailed 26-21 before rallying to tie it at the break. The Tigers had some momentum early in the second half as they trailed by just two points.
The Mustangs pulled away late on second-chance points, and running a patient offense, and waiting for an open shot. The Tigers, 0-3 in the Northland Conference, compete against Menahga on Friday, Dec. 20, in the two-day Menahga tournament.
Northome-Kelliher 30 39 — 69
Pine River-Backus 30 23 — 53
Jarrett Burns 10, Giizhik Wagner 13, Adian Pink 5, Isaiah Rahier 13, Mark Geerdes 3, Eli Rahier 16, Brenin Head 9. FT 15-21 (71 percent).
Hank Raph 11, TJ Lukanen 5, Cole Larson 2, Konrad Bueckers 11, Travon Pederson 8, Henry Krecklau 6, Saul Sasse 2, Zach Struss 6. FT 12-16 (75 percent).
W-H-A 64, Tigers 47
Walker-Hackensack-Akeley rallied in the second half to defeat PR-B in a conference game on Tuesday, Dec. 10.
The Wolves were in control for most of the game, although the Tigers did make the game close early in the second half. According to sophomore guard Konrad Bueckers, the key to the game for the Wolves’ victory was their ability to get points in transition, “our biggest issue is that we struggled to defend the fast break.”
The Tigers found themselves down at half by 11 points. The second half started off promising for PR-B, which was able to climb back in the game.
“We started to get a lot of stops on defense and score some fast break points,” said senior forward Coleman Larson.
However, the momentum swung back in the Wolves favor as they were able to increase their lead and hold on to win.
Sophomore forward Zach Struss, who finished with 14 points and six rebounds, summed up the Tigers’ inability to close the gap as the Wolves pulled away for good, “We went cold on offense.”
Walker-H-A 35 39 — 64
PR-Backus 23 24 — 47
Austin Richter 8, Josh Widman 9, Dakota Hall 8, Dustin Ovitt 10, Jono Swedberg 7, Chris Duff 17. FT 17-20 (85 percent).
Hank Raph 8, Cole Larson 4, Konrad Bueckers 6, Travon Pederson 5, Henry Krecklau 6, Shane Sepin 2, Zach Struss 14. FT 8-12 (67 percent).