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Voyageur's Best Sports of 2002

King Maudal sparks final home win

King Maudal sparks final home win
Mercs defeat Moose Lake/Willow River Rebels
by John Grones | February 19, 2002

Five hours after being crowned Sweetheart King, Doug Maudal, and a group of senior boys, played one of their best basketball games of the season. The Mercs used a quick passing, patient offense to upend the visiting Moose Lake/Willow River Rebels on Friday, February 15. The Rebels had won eight of their last nine games.

It was the last home game for Doug Maudal, Steve Swedberg, Dusty Martin, Isaiah Miller, Ben Hadrich, and Trent Meld (season ending injury). Everyone contributed in the 59 to 54 win. Despite excellent team play, each player had outstanding plays in the game.

Sweetheart King, Doug Maudal, who has seen increased minutes due to Trent Meld’s injury, came in and sparked the team while playing excellent at the high post. Early on, Doug’s presence in the middle broke down the Rebel’s zone, opening up his teammates for good shots. In the third quarter, Doug made a key play during McGregor’s 11-1 run, when he stole the ball on the press, passed the ball off and Isaiah Miller hit a 3-pointer.

Isaiah Miller, McGregor’s leading scorer this year, drew attention all night and was held to three points in the first half. Not to worry. The senior allowed his teammates to carry the scoring while contributing in all phases of the game. Isaiah contributed four steals, six assists and hit three of four free throws in the final minute to secure the victory.

Steve Swedberg came ready to play, scoring 10 of his team’s 16 points in the first quarter. With Doug creating diversions at high post, Steve found himself open in the low post. “We wanted to work on post-to-post passing and Doug did the job,” said Steve. Steve’s big play came with less than two minutes to play and a slim three-point lead. He snuck in behind the zone on the inbounds play and was fouled. He sunk both free throws, increasing the margin to five.

Ben Hadrich, started at point guard and played quality minutes in the first half against the zone defense. Ben helped establish a patient, quick passing style that was effective against the Rebel defense. To cap off a wel-played first quarter, Ben hit a 3-point shot at the buzzer to tie the game at 16 all.

Dusty Martin had one of his best games of the season scoring on a variety of moves, inside and outside and was solid at the free throw line. In addition to playing solid defense, Dusty also gave the Rebels fits in the high post area. Dusty’s highlights were numerous, but two back-to-back plays stood out above the rest. Late in the third quarter Dusty took a pass at the high elbow, ball faked, crossed over and completed a left handed finger-roll over his opponent.

Vintage Michael Jordan (for our young readers, he is a very good basketball player, a little older than most, playing for the Wizards). Dusty came back on the next possession in transition and made a step back jump shot to give McGregor their biggest lead of the game 50-33 with 2:33 left in the third.

The well-played game took a bit of a turn in the fourth quarter when both teams became physical and there was some talking going on out on the court. “They were trying to get in my head,” said Dusty. “I just ignored them and played my game.”

In the end, the Mercs finished the game at the free throw line where the talk turned to football. “Yeah, they wanted to let us know they were still better at football,” added Dusty.

Remarks that were pretty much irrelevent, because football season was over a while back and McGregor is thinking about basketball playoffs. McGregor’s win gives them two in a row going into the final regular season game at Floodwood.

McGregor improves to 12-9 while Moose Lake/Willow River falls to 13-8.

This article first appeared in the February 19, 2002 issue of the Voyageur Press.