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AREA ROUNDUP: Area wrestling teams ready for Big Bear Tournament

CASS LAKE — The marquee wrestling event of the season begins Friday at Cass Lake-Bena High School as the Blackduck/Cass Lake-Bena wrestling team hosts the annual “Battle at Big Bear” tournament.

Other than the Minnesota High School League state tournament, the Big Bear is the largest wrestling meet in Minnesota and this weekend’s event will feature 33 teams.

Among the teams making the trip to Cass Lake are BCLB, Bemidji, Red Lake County Central, Wadena-Deer Creek, Deer River, Fosston-Bagley, Hibbing, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley-Nevis, Park Rapids, Mahnomen and Badger-Greenbush-Middle River.

The Big Bear committee includes Jerry Cleveland, Ron Milbrandt, Steve Bechtold, Joe Cherney, Dominic Krump, Bryan Glynn, Tim Hinrichs, Mike Foster and Martha Hanson and Bechtold is the tournament manager.

The field will include at least three teams currently ranked in the top 10 in the state — Hutchinson (No. 5), Barnesville (No. 6) and Willmar (No. 9). Individually, more than 50 state-ranked wrestlers will be competing for tournament titles.

Among that group are Andrew Nissen (No. 4 at 106) and Daven Staples (No. 10 at 160) of BCLB plus Bemidji wrestlers Brian Maas (No. 2 at 113) and Kade Johnson (No. 4 at 182).

The wrestling will begin at 11 a.m. Friday and Saturday and adult admission is $12 per day or $20 for a two-day pass. The student admission costs are $7 per day and $10 for both days. Elders, seniors 65 years of age and older and children under 6 years of age will be admitted free.

The Bears are looking forward to this weekend’s tournament as they are 4-0 in duals and won the Fosston-Bagley tournament earlier this month.

BCLB had three individual champions at the Fosston-Bagley meet, Dewy Nissen at 106, Daven Staples at 170 and Cooper Jedlicka at 182.

Teammates Tanner Templin (195) and Nathan Jablonski (160) placed second while Ian Frenzel (120), Mason Frenzel (145), Trevor Smith (152) and Lucas Reiplinger (113) finished third.

In a pair of duals last week BCLB blitzed Mahnomen 65-13 and WHAN 68-12.

N-K 5-1 in boys basketball

The Northome-Kelliher boys basketball team is off to a fast start as the Mustangs are 5-1 after Tuesday’s 84-57 win over Hill City.

N-K owns victories over Clearbrook-Gonvick (70-53), Laporte (86-48), Pine River (69-53) and Bigfork (60-55) and its lone loss was a 69-63 setback early in the season to Nevis.

The Mustangs will end their pre-Christmas schedule Friday at Blackduck.

The Drakes improved to 5-1 last week after stopping Nevis 76-62 and Littlefork 61-56.Today’s game also is their final contest of 2013.

In other action last week Bagley (0-7) lost 70-45 to Mahnomen and 78-24 to Thief River Falls. The Flyers fell to Crookston 66-49 Tuesday and travel to Climax-Fisher today.

Red Lake evened the score with Cass Lake-Bena last week, downing the Panthers 80-71 in a tournament game at NCTC in Crookston. Earlier in the winter CL-B defeated Red Lake 70-68.

The Warriors went 3-0 at the NCTC event, stopping Stephen-Argyle 72-59 and tripping Fertile-Beltrami 61-55. Red Lake (3-1) visits Laporte today and heads to Walker-Hackensack-Akeley on Friday.

Cass Lake-Bena ended its 2013 campaign with a 3-1 record, the lone blemish being the loss to Red Lake. The Panthers are off until Jan. 3 when they host Blackduck.

Clearbrook-Gonvick fell to 1-4 last week after losing 883-62 to Cass Lake and 80-64 to Fertile-Beltrami at the NCTC tournament. The Bears host Win-E-Mac today in the final pre-holiday game.

Laporte has had a busy first few weeks and the Wildcats are 3-4 after going 1-2 last week. The stretch began with an 86-48 loss to Northome-Kelliher and ended Monday with a 48-45 loss to Sebeka. In between those games Laporte pounded Lake of the Woods 86-27.

Laporte hosts Red Lake today and then will be off until Jan. 7.

Skersick reaches 1,000 rebounds

Bagley’s Kari Skersick grabbed her 1,000th rebound last week to help the Bagley girls basketball team thump Mahnomen 62-36. She also led the Flyers with 15 points. Bailey Fultz also scored 15 and Jaysha Pemberton added 10.

Last Friday Skersick scored 20 more points and Pemberton added eight but they were not enough as Bagley lost for the first time this winter, 51-35 at Fertile-Beltrami.

“It was a tough loss. We just struggled to get things going offensively,” said Bagley coach Brandon Schwegel.

The Flyers (3-1) will try to start a new winning streak today when they head to Climax-Fisher.

Red Lake is now 3-1 after Tuesday’s 68-48 home win over Northome-Kelliher. After opening the year with wins over Cass Lake-Bena (70-37) and Laporte (74-36) the Warriors lost 74-54 on Saturday to Pelican Rapids. Today Red Lake will host Blackduck.

Laporte (0-4) hosts Verndale today while Clearbrook-Gonvick (2-3) entertains WHA. Blackduck (2-3) began the season with two wins but has dropped its next three, losing 76-62 to Nevis, 54-40 to Red Lake County Central and 69-37 to Badger-Greenbush-Middle River. Following today’s game at Red Lake the Drakes will close their 2013 campaign Friday at home against Northome-Kelliher.

Cass Lake-Bena (0-2) hosts Pine River tonight while Northome-Kelliher (2-2) heads to Blackduck Thursday. On Tuesday N-K fell at Red Lake.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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