Boys basketball: Pioneers top Polars on North home court

The Hill-Murray Pioneers took their boys' basketball forces to the Hal Norgard Gymnasium Feb. 15 to do battle with the North Polars in a Classic Suburban Conference tussle. 

In second-half play the Pioneers pulled away from the Polars and gained a  64-50 victory. 

First-year North coach Joe Janquart's frustration after the game was palpable.

"When we are in a close game and we are able to keep possession and be patient, we get good results. When we don't finish and can't keep possession, this is what happens," Janquart said.

"It's frustrating. We took some terrible shots. If I knew the answers, I'd tell you."

Hill-Murray veteran coach Dick Ghizoni acknowledged that the teams were close at the halfway mark, when the Pioneers made a change that made the difference.

"We showed them a different offensive set in the second half," he explained. "We went to a three-open offense and this gave us better speed and more open shots. We did much better on the ball in the second half. This gave us a bigger advantage. When they didn't adjust we were able to pull away."

The North defense worked hard in the first 18 minutes of action. Their hustle caused 10 offensive turnovers by the Pioneers. The score was either tied or changed possession four times in the first half. North converted four Hill-Murray give-aways into buckets on the other end of the court.

Hill-Murray went to the intermission with a 2-point, 30-28 leeway. 

A couple of 3-point shots by the Polars pushed them into a 36-35 lead early in the second half of action, but then the methodical Hill-Murray offense went to work. 

At  44-41 and Hill-Murray in the lead, the Pioneers went on a 19-6 rally that took some 10 minutes off the clock. From then on it was a matter of Hill-Murray ball possession and killing the clock. 

Leading the Pioneers' point parade was Eric Weimar with 19 points. Also in double digits were Steve Makely 14 and Ryan Buron 13. They were followed by Jack Cichy 9, Jake Christensen 6 and Jerry Butler 3. 

Leading the Polars was Tevin Beards with 12 points and Jonathan Hjelmgren 10. They were followed by Jake Steckler 9, Josh Marlowe 7, Josh Gracheck 4, Jake McDonough 3, Pete Lindberg 3 and Dan Schouvieller 2. 

The Pioneers will travel to meet Simley Feb 22 and return home for a CSC contest against Richfield Feb. 26. 

North will take on sharp-shooting Mahtomedi Feb. 22 and travel for a game against South St. Paul Feb. 26. 

CSC games are 7 p.m. scheduled starts.

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