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Slow start hurts senior hoopsters

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The Muskie senior boys’ basketball team must have had a little bit of love in their hearts on Valentine’s Day as they handed Dryden an insurmountable lead early in the game.

The black-and-gold watched as the host Eagles went on a 20-4 first-quarter run en route to a 61-53 upset victory in NorWOSSA action Saturday.

The win was the first of the season for Dryden (1-5) while the loss dropped the Muskies to 3-3. Kenora already clinched first place—and a bye to the NorWOSSA final—with a 6-0 mark.

Heading into Saturday’s game knowing they would be facing Dryden in the NorWOSSA semi-final later this month, the Muskie coaches allowed several non-starters to see plenty of court time.

"We started with our bench players and they took a big lead on us," noted co-coach Al McManaman. "[But] we let everyone play and it was a good learning experience."

He also said the Muskies struggled with their shooting early in the game, missing three easy layups and going 0-7 from the free-throw line.

"That’s 13 points right there," he stressed.

But one player who continues to be hot from the free-throw line is Brian Kosowick, who was 10 of 12 from the line, and could be an important presence inside come playoff time.

< B>< *c>Juniors perfect

Meanwhile, the Muskie junior boys’ extended their NorWOSSA record to a perfect 6-0 with a 43-30 win Saturday over the host Eagles, jumping out to an 18-2 lead to start the game.

Evan Woodland had a game high 16 points.

The win allowed the Muskies to clinch first place—and a bye to the NorWOSSA final later this month in Dryden.

Head coach Claude Gagnon said he decided to give a lot of his grade nine players more court time than usual because a ’flu bug had taken its toll on many of his veterans, including star forward John Sivonen.

"Half of my team had the ’flu so the younger guys had more of a chance to play and they played very well," said Gagnon. "They are always continuing to improve."

Gagnon also said the versatility of Mark Mercure was invaluable in Saturday’s win.

"He played very well," he enthused. "He played centre and guard which helped us."

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