Jets win in a barnburner

POWERS – When the Carney-Nadeau Wolves and North Central Jets meet, it usually goes down as a game that people talk about until the next time they square off. Tuesday night’s game was no exception; it was a barn-burner from start to finish and the Jets came away with the 52-49 dual CUP/Skyline Conference win.

“It’s a big win against a very good team,” said Jets guard Rob Granquist. “We needed that one for motivation and momentum.”

The North Central gym was packed from wall to wall, and the fans got their money’s worth from this game. Carney started off hot, bursting out to an 8-2 lead after a quick triples from Keenan Lampinen and Wade Schetter. Tyler Polfus of the Jets answered back with a triple of his own, and just two minutes into the game, the building had officially become a madhouse.

The Wolves were looking to keep a fast pace going, and it appeared as though the Jets wanted to keep them from doing so. However, the speed was overwhelming enough to allow Carney to build a 16-5 lead. But every time the crowd was taken out of the game, one basket brought them right back in.

Trevor Ekberg faked a pass, then spun and put in a beautiful teardrop shot to make the North Central fans erupt again.

Carney may have been on the road, but they were imposing their will on the Jets early, as Schetter put up nine points in the fourth quarter to give his team a 20-11 lead.

“(Carney) wants to play uptempo, especially when they’re hitting the threes like that,” said Jets coach Adam Mercier. “They really caught us off-guard initially, but we started creeping back after the first quarter.”

It was a see-saw battle early in the second as both teams exchanged buckets. Every time the Jets tried to slow the pace, the Wolves would find a way to get an easy transition layup. However, almost halfway through the second quarter, Schetter picked up his fourth foul and the dynamic of the game completely changed. Carney was up by 12, but the Jets chipped away at the deficit to make it a 31-26 game at the half.

“He’s a great player, and he deserves all the credit he gets,” Mercier said. “But when he’s out of there, you definitely want to take advantage as a team.”

Schetter came off the bench to start the second half, and he made his return known when he knocked down another triple to pad the lead. The Wolves had to be cautious though, and their play reflected that for much of the third quarter. North Central dominated with offensive rebounding, and Travis Vincent’s work in the paint put his team up 39-38 to begin the fourth.

“We had great effort,” said Mercier. “We kept fighting and scratching and pounding the offensive rebounds, which was able to get us into the game.”

Schetter tied the game with a triple from way outside to knot it up at 41. But It was short-lived as Rob Granquist grabbed a deflected pass and ran in for the easy deuce. When Carney inbounded on the next play, Granquist stole the ball and scored again to put his team up 45-41.

Just as quickly, Lampinen knocked down a three-pointer to put the Wolves back in it. The game was tied twice more and both teams refused to bend. But Ekberg drained a triple with 52 seconds remaining. Schetter dribbled down court on the final possession, but deferred a triple-try and passed it to Lampinen who couldn’t get a good look.

Schetter, who led his team with 21 points, said that his team did a lot of good things.

“No one ever likes losing, but sometimes it helps you in the long run,” he said. “What matters is at the end of the season.”

Wolves coach Jake Polfus said there are things they can learn from this game, and that Schetter’s fouls definitely changed things.

“Team chemistry kind of goes down,” he said. “We have to learn to adapt to that.”

The Jets’ jayvees won 62-47. Both teams resume Friday; Carney (8-3, 6-2 Skyline, 5-2 CUP) hosts Mid Peninsula, and North Central (8-2, 5-2, 6-2) heads to Crystal Falls.