Second half surge leads Rangers past Devils, 90-66

Mountain Iron-Buhl's Mason Clines beats Virginia's Ryan Herberg to a loose ball during the first half of Tuesday night's game in Virginia.

VIRGINIA — With only eight players dressed for Tuesday night’s game with Virginia, Mountain Iron-Buhl head coach Jeff Buffetta knew the players he did have would have to put in some heavy minutes.

The Rangers rose to that challenge and used a dominant second half performance to down the Devils, 90-66 behind 38 points from Asher Zubich.

“We only had eight guys dressed and a few of them were off the JV team,” Buffetta said after the game. “We have a whole bunch of guys sick, guys injured but I told them in the locker room that there’s still no excuses. You come here to try and win the game with what we have. It was fun to watch them do that tonight.”

The game was close throughout the first half with Virginia’s Jalen Miskowitz starting the scoring early with an easy lay in off the opening tipoff. Zubich answered on the ensuing possession with an elbow jumper before Cooper Salinas knocked down two free throws to give the Rangers an early lead.

Zane Lokken hit his first of four threes on the night for the Devils to put his team back on top. However, MI-B’s Mason Clines grabbed a bucket in the paint to answer back. Lokken responded with his second three of the night before Zubich knotted things up with a runner, 8-8.

The Rangers grabbed a five point lead with Zubich scoring twice more, once on a three and once on a steal and a layup on the other end, 13-8. Virginia stayed with it after Noah Mitchell sank two free throws to get his night started just before teammate Max Williams scored in the paint, 13-12.

Virginia’s long-range game made things interesting with Alex Engrav hitting two threes and Ethan Hanover hitting one of his own to later give the Devils a 23-20 lead. Zubich responded with a three of his own but Miskowitz, Mitchell and Lokken all scored buckets to put the Devils up again 32-26.

Trailing 34-28 shortly after, the Rangers went on a 12-point run, their first major run of the night to retake a lead they would bring into halftime. MiCaden Clines, Salinas, Zubich and Braxton Negen all got in on the action to put MI-B up 40-34.

The two teams exchanged a few more buckets before the break with MI-B holding the 43-39 lead. Zubich led all scorers so far with 22 points. Lokken had nine for Virginia while Mitchell had eight.

Mitchell and Mason Clines exchanged a pair of buckets each to start the second half as it looked like the two teams would keep in the final 18 minutes. The Rangers had other plans, however. Leading 47-45, MI-B went on a quick 11-point run with Zubich putting in eight during the stretch to go up 58-45.

The Devils kept things close with Mitchell putting in work in the post, but one final Rangers run sealed the contest. Leading 67-57, MI-B outscored Virginia 23-9 over the closing minutes of the contest to get the win.

The final stretch saw the Rangers grab numerous turnovers that they converted on the other end. Zubich, Mason Clines and JD Kayfes all grabbed multiple buckets to close things out, 90-66.

Zubich led all scorers in the win with 38 points. Mason Clines had 22. Kayfes finished with 11 and Salinas chipped in with 10.

Virginia was led by Mitchell with 22 and Lokken with 12, all from three-point land.

The late points off turnovers were key for the Rangers, something Buffetta knows his team has to look for every chance they get.

“We’re not a big team. We don’t have six-foot-six guys so playing aggressive in passing lanes is what we want. Playing team defense is what we have to do. It was a good step in the right direction.”

Coming in short on players, Buffetta knew it was a big ask for his players to play significantly more minutes than they were used to. Still, they stepped up in order to get the win.

“We’re down a lot of guys,” Buffetta said. “We had to ask them to get those minutes in and sustain our energy out there and that was the most impressive thing for us tonight. They played hard and it was fun to see them compete at the defensive end of things and keep running the floor like they were.”

With four players finishing in double figures, the effort was even more impressive from an offensive standpoint.

“Everybody knows Asher can put the ball in the basket but he’s also a really good passer and if we utilize that and get to the open areas, we have several guys that can put the ball in the hoop. It was nice to see our guys get those opportunities and follow through on it. Hopefully it builds confidence.”

Mountain Iron-Buhl (4-1) will host Northland on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. Virginia (2-5) will travel to Proctor for a 4:30 p.m. date on Thursday.

MIB 43 47 — 90

VHS 39 27 — 66

Mountain Iron-Buhl: Asher Zubich 38, Cooper Salinas 10, Mason Clines 22, JD Kayfes 11, Braxton Negen 2, MiCaden Clines 7; Three pointers: Zubich 5, Kayfes 1, Mi. Clines 1; Free throws: 7-12; Total fouls: 11; Fouled out: none.

Virginia: Zane Lokken 12, Gavin Dahl 2, Jalen Miskowitz 6, Casey Aune 2, Alex Engrav 6, Noah Mitchell 22, Ryan Herberg 7, Ethan Hanover 3, Max Williams 6; Three pointers: Lokken 4, Engrav 2, Mitchell 2, Herberg 1, Hanover 1, Williams 1; Free throws: 7-10; Total fouls: 11; Fouled out: Herberg.

Deer River 84,

Greenway 58

At Coleraine, 23 points and five three pointers from Deer River’s Ty Morrison led the way for the Warriors Tuesday night as they downed Greenway 84-58.

Morrison led all scorers in the contest while Ethan Williams added 19 and Sam Rahier finished with 17 — including four made threes.

The Raiders were led by Mathias Macknight’s 18 points, 16 points from Grant Hansen and 14 points from Westin Smith (12 from three-point land).

Greenway will play at the Aitkin Holiday Tournament beginning Tuesday while Deer River heads to a tournament in Crosby-Ironton.

DR 48 36 — 84

GHS 28 30 — 58

Deer River: Cale JAckson 6, Ethan Williams 19, Rhett Mundt 4, Sam Rahier 17, Tait Kongsjord 7, Colton Hemphill 8, Ty Morrison 23; Three pointers: Jackson 2, Rahier 4, Morrison 5; Free throws: 13-18.

Greenway: Westin Smith 14, Grant Hansen 16, Tyler Swedeen 3, Mathias Macknight 18, Alex Plackner 3, Gage Olson 2, Ethan Eiden 2; Three pointers: Smith 4, Macknight 1, Plackner 1; Free throws: 9-13.

Nashwauk-Keewatin 68,

McGregor 50

At Nashwauk, the Nashwauk-Keewatin boys’ basketball team got a standout performance from Marcus Moore Tuesday night on their way to a 68-50 win over McGregor.

Moore finished with a game-high 24 points for the Spartans. Gaige Waldvogel added 17. Ethan Bohn finished with 21 points for the Comets. Willie Glunz chipped in with 12.

Nashwauk-Keewatin (2-4) will travel to Esko for a holiday tournament starting on Tuesday.

MHS 20 30 — 50

NK 33 35 — 68

McGregor: Jacob Metzen 3, Isaiah Serfling 4, Willie Glunz 12, Samuel Metzen 3, Ethan Bohn 21, Darian Morgart 7; Three pointers: Morgart 1; Free throws: 7-13; Total fouls: 13; Fouled out: Bohn.

Nashwauk-Keewatin: Gaige Waldvogel 17, Marcus Moore 24, Justice Rebrovich 4, Conner Perryman 5, Daylan White 9, Brody Erickson 5; Three pointers: Waldvogel 1, Moore 1, Perryman 1, White 1; Free throws: 6-12; Total fouls: 13; Fouled out: none.

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Mesabi East 64,

Greenway 27

At Aurora, up just one heading into the halftime break, the Mesabi East girls’ basketball team played lights out defense in the second half, limiting Greenway to just seven points on their way to a 64-27 win over the Raiders.

Alexa Fossell led the way offensively with 24 points while Kora Forsline added 16. Jadin Saville led Greenway with seven.

Giants head coach Chris Whiting said the second half was a great defensive outing from his team with two players energizing the team in the final 18 minutes.

“I was very happy with our defense in that second half,” Whiting said. “We played with a little bit more pressure and that brought out some energy. Elli Theel and Alexa Fossell were really big for us in the second half from an energy standpoint. They got the rest of the team going and it paid off.”

Mesabi East (4-2) will play in the Cloquet Holiday Tournament beginning next Tuesday. They’ll open with Cloquet at 6:15 p.m. and take on Crosby-Ironton the next day at 1 p.m.

GHS 20 7 — 27

ME 21 43 — 64

Greenway: Rianna Nugent 2, Klara Finke 4, Frankie Cuellar 4, Layla Miskovich 2, Alyizzia Roy 1, Chloe Hansen 3, Talia Saville 2, Hannah Fawcett 2, Jadin Saville 7; Three pointers: J. Saville 1; Free throws: 6-12.

Mesabi East: Emily Beyer 2, Alexa Fossell 24, Elli Theel 4, Sam Daugherty 2, Kora Forsline 16, Olivia Forsline 3, Ashlee Tennisen 2, Stevie Hakala 3, Marta Forsline 8; Three pointers: O. Forsline 1, M. Forsline 1; Free throws: 18-31.

Ely 56,

Cook County 38

At Grand Marais, the Ely girls’ basketball team bounced back after Monday night’s loss to Chisholm, downing Cook County 56-38.

Grace LaTourell led the Timberwolves in scoring with a 24-point performance. Madelin Kallberg added 13.

Rhonnie Poyirier put in 17 points for the Vikings. Makenzie Fairbanks finished with 13.

Ely head coach Max Gantt commended his team’s defensive intensity in the win.

“Ande Visser and Madison Rohr gave us great energy on defense and we were able to come back from a tough loss yesterday to get a win on the road,” Gantt said.

Ely will host their own holiday tournament next week and will take on Carlton and Deer River.

“We’re hoping to get a win streak here now,” at the holiday tournament.

Ely 32 24 — 56

CC 20 18 — 38

Ely: Lily Tedrick 1, Madeline Kallberg 13, Sarah Visser 2, Grace LaTourell 24, Madison Rohr 8, Madeline Perry 8; Three pointers: Kallberg 1, LaTourell 2, Perry 2; Free throws: 5-10; Total fouls: 8; Fouled out: none.

Cook County: Makenzie Fairbanks 13, Amery Oberg 3, Kamryn Johnson 5, Rhonnie Poyirier 17; Three pointers: Fairbanks 3, Oberg 1; Free throws: 4-10; Total fouls: 11; Fouled out: none.

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