Cass Lake-Bena, Bagley battle in semifinals
By the end of this week we will know which teams will play in the various Minnesota high school state boys basketball tournaments and three area teams remain alive in their respective divisions.
Bemidji is one game away from the state Class 4-A tournament and will battle Moorhead 7 p.m. Thursday in Crookston for the state berth.
Today Cass Lake-Bena and Bagley hope to continue their quests for next week’s trip to the Twin Cities. In today’s 8 p.m. East Sub-Section 8-2A final at BSU, Bagley will tangle with Crosby-Ironton. The Flyers (22-6) are seeded No. 2 in the East Sub-Section while Crosby-Ironton (17-10) is the East’s top seed.
In tonight’s West Sub-Section final at MSU Moorhead No. 2 Perham faces No. 1 Pelican Rapids.
Tonight’s winners will return to BSU 7 p.m. Friday for the Section 8-2A championship game.
For the second consecutive winter CL-B and Fosston will meet in the East 8A Sub-Section championship game 7:45 p.m. tonight at the REA in Thief River Falls.
A year ago the Panthers were outscored 26-5 from the free throw line and that disparity led to a 59-45 loss to the Greyhounds.
A 21-9 Fosston run late in the first half proved decisive as the Greyhounds opened a 34-22 halftime bulge and Cass Lake-Bena never recovered.
“We’re looking forward to the rematch,” said CL-B coach Brian Michaelson. “This year I think we have an advantage in experience and in height and we’ll be looking to utilize our mismatches.”
Because of their quickness and height, few teams during the regular season try to stop the Panthers with a man-to-man defense. In last year’s playoffs, however, Fosston employed that tactic and the strategy was effective.
“We weren’t prepared for Fosston’s in-your-face man-to-man defense last time,” Michaelson said. ‘But we’re ready this year.”
In Saturday’s sub-section semifinals CL-B downed Blackduck 72-47. Caleb Fisher paced the offense with 18 points and four assists. Jake Ellis added 14 points and 10 rebounds and Dakotah Brunelle tallied 10 points.
Ellis also reached the 1,000-point mark with a second-half free throw.
Dominic Anderson had 11 points for the Drakes and Trey Volk scored 10.
Cass Lake-Bena will take a 25-3 record into today’s game while Fosston is 22-4.
With so much on the line the Panthers could be excused if they hit the floor with a case of the nerves but Michaelson believes the players will be relaxed and ready.
“We view this as just another game,” the coach said. “Fosston is the team that knocked us out last year and we’re looking forward to the rematch. Our goal is to make it to state and Fosston is just another team that stands in our way.”
Clearbrook-Gonvick fell one game shy of advancing to the state tournament as the Section 8A representative when the Bears lost 52-28 Friday to Warren-Oslo-Alvarado in the section title game.
In 8-2A Pequot Lakes earned a trip to state with a 55-52 overtime win over Hawley.
Fergus Falls captured the Section 8-3A title 66-45 over Alexandria and St. Michael-Albertville nipped Buffalo 58-55 in overtime to claim the 8-4A crown