GRANTSBURG – A few steps have been made by the Grantsburg boys basketball team to stay within range for a leap forward.
After dropping a key game to Lakeland West leader Luck, the Pirates entered the week in a tie for second behind the Cardinals in the standings by building a four-game streak that included three conference wins. They now start a four-game stretch of conference matchups that includes a rematch with Luck on Tuesday, when a win would at least shorten the distance between themselves and the Cardinals.
“It’s better to be in the position we’re in, than to not be in it,” Grantsburg coach Nick Hallberg said. “We have some ground to gain but there are a lot of meaningful games left in the conference schedule and our quality of play is still getting better.”
Grantsburg’s second win in the streak came on Jan. 21 against Webster, with little room to spare. Jared VanWatermeulen scored a game-high 27 points in a 66-62 win for the Pirates, who needed a late defensive stop to preserve the win.
VanWatermeulen scored 13 first-half points and Austin Wedin added nine, though the Tigers took a 30-26 lead into the break by getting six points each from Owen Washburn, Tanner Pardun and Nathan Stadler. Eight more in the second half from both Washburn and Stadler, kept Webster ahead for a significant amount of the half.
“For the most part, we hardly led in the game,” Hallberg said. “But we made a few key plays with a few minutes left.”
Several of those key plays were 3-pointers from Carson Knutson and Wedin, who totaled five long-range makes in the second half. Those, in addition to 14 points from VanWatermeulen, helped put the Pirates ahead by a point in the final minute.
The Tigers had a chance in the final seconds to sink the go-ahead basket, but Grantsburg forced a turnover and added some late free throws to secure the win.
Wedin finished with 18 points for the Pirates; Knutson had 11 and Zach Miller had eight. Washburn and Stadler led the Tigers with 14 points each; Stadler’s total included four 3-pointers. Tallon Parent added nine points while Harlo Olson and Carsen Stenberg had eight each.
Grantsburg had another close call to survive on Friday.
“We had the lead and it kind of dwindled in the last few minutes,” Hallberg said. “There were missed free throws and turnovers.
“We were lucky to still get the win.”
Gus Bergman had 19 points and VanWatermeulen had 15 for the Pirates, who finished with the 63-61 win. And the Pirates needed every point possible to counter Declan Greenquist.
Greenquist sank a total of five 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 32 points. However, the Pirates’ 10 free throw makes in the second half helped get the win. Sterling McKinley and Knutson added nine points each for Grantsburg.
The Pirates’ streak reached four games with a 62-53 win over Clear Lake at Target Center on Saturday. Knutson had a team-high 21 points for Grantsburg; Wedin had 12; VanWatermeulen had 11 and McKinley had nine.
The wins improved Grantsburg’s overall mark to 9-4 and its conference record to 5-2. The Pirates go to Siren this Friday and host Luck on Tuesday.
The Dragons got into the Lakeland West win column for the first time this season and added a pair of non-conference wins during a stretch of four games in seven days.
Nathan Kosloski led Siren with a game-high 16 points and Brady Kosloski added 10 in a 41-35 win over Frederic on Jan. 21. It was the Dragons’ first conference win in eight tries and was helped by a defensive effort that limited Frederic to 12 first-half points.
On Thursday, Nathan Kosloski scored a game-high 22 points in a 66-53 win over Washburn. Riley Churchill had 18 points for Siren; Jordan Webster added 12, including the team’s only pair of 3-point makes.
Siren had its first win streak of the season with those back-to-back decisions, but Unity prevented it from reaching three on Friday. The Dragons managed just 12 first-half points while the Eagles scored 15 from 3-point range alone in the first half of their 60-32 win.
Nathan Kosloski led the Dragons with 13 points to put him within range of reaching 1,000 career points, which he did on Monday.
After helping the Dragons to a 30-12 lead entering halftime, a second-half basket put Nathan Kosloski in four-figure territory for career scoring in Siren’s 62-42 win over Glenwood City. Churchill had a game-high 16 points; Nathan Kosloski finished with 13.
Siren improved to 2-10 overall and started the week with a 1-7 mark in the Lakeland West. The Dragons host Grantsburg this Friday and play at Webster on Tuesday.
After their loss to Grantsburg, the Tigers recovered with a 76-27 win over Lac Courte Oreilles on Friday. It was Webster’s second-highest point total of the season and included a 49-point first half. The victory also ended a two-game skid and put the Tigers back at the .500 mark overall at 6-6.
Webster plays four games in seven days starting on Friday at St. Croix Falls. The Tigers then go to Frederic on Monday, before hosting Siren on Tuesday and Luck on Thursday.