Sr. hoopsters open tourney with win

Lucas Punkari

Although the offence may not have been firing on all cylinders, the defensive play of the Muskie senior boys’ basketball team was strong enough to defeat the Baudette Bears 36-31 last night in the opening game of a weekend tournament at Fort High.
The black-and-gold held an scant 9-8 lead after the first quarter, which they were able to slowly extend during the course of the contest.
They had a game-high 11-point lead midway through the fourth quarter before the Bears netted a couple of late baskets to make things interesting.
“We got the win and that’s the most important thing,” said Muskie head coach Bryce Coyle.
“We were a little sluggish offensively today, but our defence was really good so I’m pleased with that,” he added.
“I think we showed today [Thursday] that we can win a lot of game just by playing a good defence.”
While Coyle was happy his squad began the tournament with a victory, Bears’ coach Robert Laine was lamenting the fact his team struggled from the charity stripe.
“If we could make a free throw to save our lives, it would be nice,” he sighed.
“We average about 25 free throws a game so far in the three games we’ve played, and so far we’ve only hit 20 of our 75 attempts.
“And tonight we were seven-for-23.
“I don’t mind our offensive production as we obviously get fouled a lot,” Laine added. “But what good is that going to do if you can’t make a free throw?”
Will Anderson led the Muskies with 15 points while Aaron O’Connell had nine for the Bears.
Fort High was back in action this afternoon against the Dryden Eagles (the outcome wasn’t known by press time), then they’ll take on the Kenora Broncos starting at 6 p.m. tonight.
They’ll round out tournament play tomorrow at noon versus the International Falls Broncos.