Prep boys basketball: Juenneman leads Greyhounds past Cloquet
The Lumberjacks led throughout the first half, but with two players out with injuries they couldn’t keep pace over the final 18 minutes.
Duluth East junior Jobe Juenneman hit eight 3-pointers — six in the second half — and had 27 points to lift the Greyhounds to a 83-60 season-opening win at Cloquet Tuesday, Dec. 7.
The Greyhounds got off to a slow start struggling to score in the first half, but came out on fire in the second half, outscoring the Lumberjacks 55-28 to take their season opener.
“In the first half, we came out really slow, we had just a little bit of jitters,” Juenneman said. “When we came out of the locker room in the second half, we were a lot more confident — the passing was a lot better. We had great passes around the perimeter and then into the paint. Then we all just started hitting shots and we took the game away.”
In the first half, the Lumberjack zone frustrated the Duluth East attack and Cloquet’s Conner Barney scored 14 points to take a 32-28 lead into the locker room.
Duluth East came out on fire in the second half, outscoring Cloquet 24-11 over the first eight minutes of the second half.
Duluth East coach Rhett McDonald agreed with Juenneman that there were some nerves in the first half, but that was to be expected with such a young team. Only Will Van Scoy has played varsity minutes in the past for the Greyhounds and he missed all of the 2021 season with an ACL tear.
“I think the only thing that happened was midway through the game is some of these young guys had a little bit more faith and confidence in their abilities,” McDonald said. “It really was just a matter of us playing our first game, being pretty nervous in a somewhat hostile environment. But then our shots started going down and it seemed a lot better.”
Barney led all scorers with 30 points, but Cloquet coach Steve Battaglia said the absence of Kollin Bonneville and Reese Sheldon made it hard on the Lumberjacks. Bonneville and Sheldon are still out with injuries from the football season, but Battaglia said he hopes to see them back on the floor in a week or so.
“We knew coming into this week with East tonight and Esko Friday, our lack of depth could come back and bite us and it did tonight, for sure,” Battaglia said. “That’s not to take any credit away from them — they’re a good team. But you could tell our rotations were a step slow in the second half. I thought our kids battled really hard, I like the way they played in the first half. In the second half, we got slow, we got tired, we got sloppy a little bit and they had a lot to do with why that was happening.”
Despite the loss, Battaglia was positive about the outlook of the season for Cloquet after the loss. .
“They’re a complete team, they’re big inside and they’ve got shooters on the perimeter,” Battaglia said. “If we can punch with a team like that, it’s going to bode well for us at the end of the season when we’re trying to make a playoff run.”
Duluth East (1-0) will host Blaine at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
Cloquet (2-1) will host Esko at 7:15 p.m. Friday.
Duluth East 28-55—83
Duluth East — Bryce Miller 2, Dillon Bement 2, Drew Larkin 3, Will Van Scoy 16, Jobe Juenneman 27, Michael Kastelic 13, Isaac Nyakundi 17. Totals 17 4-7 83.
3-point goals — Larkin , Van Scoy 3, Juenneman 8, Kastelic 3.
Cloquet — Conner Barney 30, Alec Turnbull 7, Caleb Hansen 12, Orville Councillor 3, Marco Mayorga 8. Totals 18 12-17 60.