Hermantown ousts Lumberjacks in semi
March 17, 2023
After picking up an impressive quarterfinal win over Grand Rapids last Wednesday, Cloquet hit the road again March 10 to play Section 7AAA top seed Hermantown. When the dust cleared, the Lumberjacks fell 80-58 and were bounced from the playoffs.
In the Friday loss to the Hawks, Cloquet struggled out of the gate and trailed 39-22 at halftime. The Hawks, on the other hand, had three players in double-digit scoring by halftime as Blake Schmitz, Abe Soumis and Nate Hill each had 10 points.
"The first 10 minutes it was a good back-and-forth game," said Cloquet head coach Steve Battaglia. "After that 10-minute mark, they just started to dominate us on the boards. They were getting three or four shots each possession, and that killed us."
Soumis led all scorers by scoring 27 points in the game, Schmitz finished with 18 and Hill had16 points.
"Soumis is a big guy and he can hit the 10-foot jumper," Battaglia said. "He just had too many good touches."
In the end, the Hawks outrebounded the Lumberjacks 40-23 with 19 of those rebounds coming on the offensive glass.
"Physically, they were just bigger and stronger and it showed," Battaglia said. "We did a good job of eliminating their 3-point shots, but then they started getting too many put-back baskets."
Cloquet also had three players in double-digit scoring led by Kollin Bonneville's 16 points, while both Marco Mayorga and Jack Battaglia finished with 14 points each. Also scoring for Cloquet were Reese Sheldon with five points, Jordan Aultman with four, Joe Bailey with three, and two for Shazae Henagin.
The Lumberjacks finished with a record of 14-14.
"We were a competitive team all year and finished about where we thought we'd be at the beginning of the year," Battaglia said. "We didn't get a ton of breaks this year. Realistically, had we had a couple of things go our way, we could have picked up four or five more wins."
Cloquet loses five seniors as Reese Sheldon, Kollin Bonneville, Marco Mayorga, Jordan Aultman and Izaiah Carrier will graduate in June.
Last Wednesday, the Lumberjacks trailed the Grand Rapids Thunderhawks 21-18 at halftime in an anemic offensive showing by both teams, caused by a combination of intensive defensive pressure and missed shots. The Lumberjacks responded with an impressive second-half comeback performance to take the win. Jack Battaglia led the 'Jacks with 11 points and both Marco Mayorga and Seth Rothamel scored 10 points.