By Matthew Davis
Irondale had its best start since 2010 with a couple wins to start the season Dec. 6-9 led by senior guard Sean Sutherlin.
He hit for 23 points in the team’s season-opening win over Henry Sibley on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The Knights went on to win 73-53 at home. Again Sutherlin gave a visiting team trouble with 18 points in the Knights’ 74-57 home victory over St. Croix Prep on Friday, Dec. 9. He came just shy of a triple double with nine rebounds and nine assists in the win.
Sutherlin had plenty of help too in both wins too. Senior forward Jordi Pacheo-Ramirez netted 13 points in the win against Henry Sibley and 14 against St. Croix Prep. He also grabbed 10 rebounds against Henry Sibley an another five against St. Croix Prep.
“We had good balance,” Irondale coach Jon DeMars said. “We played solid team defense.”
Knights junior forward Daudi Simon also started strong with 12 points against Henry Sibley, and he had 11 rebounds. Simon posted nine points and dished three assists against St. Croix Prep. Senior forward Sonam Paichang hit double figures against St. Croix Prep with 12 points and had eight against Henry Sibley.
Aden Price, a sophomore forward, chipped in nine points against Henry Sibley and eight versus St. Croix Prep. Junior forward Brendan White added six points in the win against Henry Sibley, and sophomore forward Leighton Glodek put in seven points against St. Croix Prep.
Irondale (2-0) faced its biggest challenge of the young season with No. 4-ranked Maple Grove (2-0) on Tuesday, which took place after press deadlines. It doesn’t get easier for the Knights with Osseo (2-0) coming to town on Friday at 7 p.m. The Knights then host Duluth East (1-1) on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m.
“All are good teams,” DeMars said. “We have a great challenge in front of us.”
Regardless of the through the first five games, the Knights have shown the ability to compete as DeMars wanted going into the season. A strong start could bode well too since the Knights had a winning season the last time they started 2-0 or better. The Knights went 18-8 in 2010-2011.
“We plan to continue to improve and compete hard,” DeMars said of this year’s squad. “This has been a very enjoyable group to coach. They are willing learners and pick up on things quickly.”
Irondale girls hoops dip to 0-4 start
The Knights faced a brutal schedule to start the season and fell to 0-4.
Irondale came up short in its closest for the four games, a 55-45 loss to Farmington on Friday, Dec. 2. Sophomore forward Kahlan Jester led the Knights with 14 points, and junior center Sarah Loken added 13. Junior guard Sophie Findell added six, and sophomore forward Kaley Waldemar posted five.
In the Knights’ other losses, the team fell by an average margin of 36 points to Elk River, Roseville and Centennial. All three of those squads have reached section semifinals or better in recent years.
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