Bluejacket boys earn wins over Section 7AAA partners

Cambridge-Isanti boys basketball picked up two significant early-season victories by working past Forest Lake and Anoka at home last week. Those victories have the Bluejackets out to a 3-1 start, with two more non-conference games upcoming over the next week before Mississippi 8 games begin.

Junior Nate Cox got inside the Tornadoes’ defense for a second-half bucket in the Dec. 7 victory. Cox hit three three-pointers and led the Bluejackets with 23 points.   Photo provided by Dayla McDonald

Junior Nate Cox got inside the Tornadoes’ defense for a second-half bucket in the Dec. 7 victory. Cox hit three three-pointers and led the Bluejackets with 23 points. Photo provided by Dayla McDonald

The Bluejackets jumped out to an 8-0 lead en route to defeating the Rangers 75-61 on Dec. 5. Forest Lake forged a tie at 9-9, then the C-I boys rolled on a 12-1 run with Garrett Hiljus, Nate Cox, Matt Swanson and Kyle McDonald scoring in that stretch. Devin Malik added 10 first-half points when the Bluejackets took a 42-20 advantage into the locker room at the break.

In the second half, Swanson and Cox combined to knock down three ‘3s’ to start. McDonald sliced inside for two layups, and Swanson’s putback created a 56-36 lead. The Bluejackets’ final 19 points then came from the free throw line.

McDonald finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, with Malik scoring 15, Cox 13 and Swanson 12.

“Even though these were earl-season wins, they do set us up when it comes to seeding in late February,” said C-I Coach Mike McDonald. “I was very impressed with our passion and effort versus Forest Lake. After two losses to them last year, we knew that this was a big game for us.”

• On Saturday afternoon, Coach McDonald’s troops put in a workmanlike effort to down Anoka 72-61. Cox scored nine of the team’s first 12 points by knocking down shots from the arc, and he went on to lead C-I with 23 points.

In the second half, the game was close at 37-34 when Hunter Vavra popped a ‘3’ to double the Jackets’ lead. McDonald, Vavra, Cox and Jake Johnson followed with unanswered field goals to create distance from the Tornadoes. McDonald finished with 16 points, Swanson scored 12, with Johnson adding 8 and Vavra 7 points in the win. Both Swanson and McDonald had 7 rebounds, and Cox led with 3 assists.

C-I Saturday Youth  Boys Basketball

The annual Cambridge-Isanti Saturday morning boys basketball in-house program for boys grades K-6 begins on Saturday, Dec. 14 at the Isanti Middle School gym. Grades K-1 meet 9-10 a.m., Grades 2-3 meet 10-11:15 a.m., and Grades 4-6 go from 11:15-12:30 p.m. Fees are $45 for Grades K-3 and $50 for Grades 4-6. Registration can be done at the first session or through C-I Community Education. Any questions, contact Bluejacket boys basketball head coach Mike McDonald (763-689-6481).

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