Wolves boys 1-2 at tourney, host Little Falls next

Milaca’s boys basketball team went 1-2 at the St. John’s Prep Holiday Tournament Dec. 20-22 at Collegeville and coach Dustin Naumann saw some positive things from his team and some things the Wolves need to work on.

Milaca lost to Maple Lake 68-67 in the quarterfinals Dec. 20 but bounced back to stop Rush City 49-45 Dec. 21 in the consolation semifinals. Host St. John’s Prep tipped the Wolves 47-41 in two overtimes in the consolation title game Dec. 22.

“It was a nice tournament to play in with three very close games,” said Naumann. “But, it was disappointing to only come away with one win. We are still waiting for that extra energy to finish out close games at the end.

“We are working hard to be able to seal the deal as the season progresses so that we are ready at section playoff time.”

The Wolves, 3-4 overall, resume play Friday night by hosting Little Falls in a Granite Ridge Conference game at 7:30.

“Little Falls is rugged – we need to be ready for a physical, fast-paced game,” said Naumann, whose team is 0-1 in GRC games.

Milaca outscored St. John’s Prep 23-20 in the second half to tie the game at 37-37 and send it into the first overtime. Both teams scored just two points in the first overtime, with St. John’s outscoring Milaca 8-2 in the second overtime.

“Both teams had various leads throughout the game but neither was able to take control,” said Naumann. “Their defense was really loose on the perimeter and swarming in the post area so we weren’t able to get anything going inside like we usually do,” said Naumann. We ended up taking about 15 wide open three-point shots but we made just two. We have to get better than that.”

Junior guard Justin Fransen led Milaca with 11 points and eight rebounds while sophomore forward Mike Garber, who was named to the all-tournament team, had six points.

Garber scored 18 points in the quarterfinal loss to Maple Lake while Fransen scored 16 and junior guard Brian Kiel and junior center Matt VanSomeren had nine points each.

The Wolves led 32-23 at halftime but were outscored 45-35 in the second half.

Garber and Kiel each scored 10 points against Rush City while senior forward Chris Olson scored nine.

Milaca lost a non-conference game 75-59 at Kimball Dec. 18.