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Area boys basketball preview: Cass Lake-Bena should generate excitement

CASS LAKE — It could be an exciting year for Cass Lake-Bena, at least if the first two games are accurate indicators.

In the annual slugfest between the Panthers and Red Lake last week in the season opener, CL-B prevailed 70-68 in a nailbiter. On Tuesday the Panthers improved to 2-0 with a 70-58 home win over Red Lake County Central.

“The plan this season is to use pressure defense, both full court and half,” said CL-B coach Brian Michaelson. “We have some talented players, good shooters and dribblers. This year we will be showing a variety of looks both offensively and defensively.

Among those players is senior guard Josh LaDuke.

“Josh has been starting the last three years and he can get hot and shoot the lights out,” Michaelson said. “Josh put in the extra time in the weight room in the offseason. He leads the team in hustle and work ethic. He has quick feet and moves well down low.”

Another veteran is sophomore point guard Alvin Wind.

“Alvin took over last year as our point guard and did a good job,” his coach said. “He has matured with the role, doesn’t panic and takes command on the court.”

Joining Wind and LaDuke as potential starters are junior Gage Headbird, junior Damien Kingbird and sophomore Dave Jones. Among the first off the bench will be senior Nic Rairdon, junior Anthony DuBois, sophomore Jon Staples and Willy Kingbird.

“We still are comparably young, with not many seniors or juniors,” Michaelson said. “Our goals will be to be patient with our offense, let it work and cycle through. And we need to keep our composure and take care of the basketball. Last year we had too many turnovers.”


BAGLEY — The Flyers also are young as the early-season roster includes only three seniors — Erik Paulson, Landon Peterson and Kameron Anderson.

Complimenting the seniors are juniors Justin Olson, Colton Adams, Jordan Loiland and Mark Lundsten plus sophomores Hunter Syverson, Walker Cage, Louis Larson, Max Beckstrand, Jack Laudon and Lucas Culkins.

Bagley began the winter with four setbacks, losing to Roseau, East Grand Forks, Fosston and Park Rapids.

On Tuesday the Flyers visited Mahnomen to start a lengthy six-game winning streak to end the 2013 portion of the campaign. The road swing includes a pair of games in the Pequot Lakes Invitational right after Christmas. The new year will begin with a home game against Win-E-Mac on Jan. 6.


CLEARBROOK — The Bears snapped a three-game losing streak to open the season with a 66-63 victory over Badger-Greenbush-Middle River Monday night. That decision reversed a 61-58 loss to BGMR three days earlier.

Clearbrook-Gonvick also has lost to Verndale 80-51 and Walker-Hackensack-Akeley 74-50.

Leading the Bears are seniors Nick Lewis, Reegen Hetland, Nick Bodensteiner, Alex Barrett and Tanner Pletschett. No juniors are on the early-season roster which also includes sophomores Sam Lavin, Ben Anderson, Elliot Dickey and Hunter Churness plus freshmen Trevor Rogstad and Nathaniel Dahl.

Red Lake

RED LAKE — The Warriors split their first two games, losing 70-68 at Cass Lake-Bena and stopping Stephen-Argyle 72-59. On Tuesday they faced Fertile-Beltrami. The first home game will be Jan. 3 against Pine-River Backus.

The roster includes seniors Treven Beaulieu, Ryan Holthusen and Marcus Beaulieu, juniors Mason Kingbird, Justice Needham, William Chaboyea, Tyrell Patterson, Jalen Jones and Russell Kingbird, sophomore Josh Antone plus freshman Rob Mclain.


LAPORTE — The Wildcats dropped their first two games but posted a pair of wins at a tournament hosted by Lake of the Woods.

The losses were 80-51 to Verndale and 74-50 to WHA while the wins were a convincing 77-29 triumph over Beaver Brae of Kenora, Ont. and a 59-25 victory over St. Thomas Aquinas.

Among the seniors are Donovin Kelley, Kyle Kerby, Jared Miller, Dillon Lutgen, JOsh Bialke and Dillon Hoffman. The junior cast includes Austin Moss and Blake Klinke while Quintin Nelson, Cody Hoffman and Jack Booth are the sophomores. Also on the roster is eighth grader Riley Kline.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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