Duluth East's Mattie Thompson (31) puts up a short jump shot against Bloomington Jefferson. Thompson had 21 points in the Greyhounds’ 63-54 victory over the Jaguars in Bloomington. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
Teams may lean on every game in a season to figure out ways to generate maximum production from a roster, so it’s no surprise Duluth East has cherished every game played in a pandemic-shortened season.
As a team from outstate Minnesota that’s playing without a conference, a typical Greyhounds’ basketball season means taking lengthy trips, sometimes going hours south to play teams from the Twin Cities. The Greyhounds, however, haven’t been able to make the journey south as often as in past winters, giving Thursday’s matchup at Bloomington Jefferson added significance.
“Every time we come down here and play Jefferson, what we like about them is they force you to be pretty solid,” said Greyhounds coach Rhett McDonald. “You have to be efficient.”
And a challenge is what Duluth East got, especially early on as the Greyhounds found themselves trailing Jefferson (7-4) by four points at halftime before they found their footing in the second half to defeat the Jaguars 63-54.
Duluth East's Noah Paulson (32) goes up for two of his 16 first-half points against Bloomington Jefferson Thursday night. Paulson finished with 22 points in the Greyhounds’ 63-54 victory over the Jaguars. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
Noah Paulson, Mattie Thompson and the rest of Duluth East’s lineup surged in the second half to pull away from and defeat Bloomington Jefferson 63-54 during Thursday’s visit south at Bloomington Jefferson High School.
The Jaguars (7-4) headed into halftime with a 29-25 lead, but that quickly changed in the second half. Trailing by as many as seven points early in the latter half, the Greyhounds (9-2) tied the game 39-39 with less than 11 minutes remaining and didn’t look back from there.
Paulson, a Minnesota Duluth commit, scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Greyhounds, who are ranked No. 9 in Class 4A by Minnesota Basketball News. Thompson, another Bulldogs commit, finished with 21 points.
Sam Wanzek knocked down five three-pointers to lead the Jaguars with 15 points while teammate Daniel Freitag added 10 points.
With the victory, Duluth East has won seven consecutive games.
Bloomington Jefferson's Sam Wanzek (23) looks for room under the basket against Duluth East Thursday night. Wanzek had 15 points in the Jaguars’ 63-54 loss to the visiting Greyhounds. Photo by Jeff Lawler, SportsEngine
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