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Red Lake’s Sara Mountain, left, and Grace White, right, take a rebound away from Cass Lake’s Sheila DeVault during their Section 8A playoff game Thursday night at BSU. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

GIRLS BASKETBALL: Red Lake starts slow but powers on late to top rivals Cass Lake-Bena 85-48

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BEMIDJI — For the first 10 minutes of Thursday’s Sub-Section 8A East quarterfinal at the BSU gym it was difficult to determine which team was rated No. 1 and which was ranked eighth in the tournament seedings.

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Cass Lake-Bena gave Red Lake all it could handle in the early going and Sunshyne Kingbird’s free throw with 9:36 to play in the opening half knotted the game 17-17.

From that point on, however, Red Lake lived up to its billing as the Warriors outran the Panthers and eventually posted an 85-48 victory.

Thursday’s win vaulted Red Lake into the sub-section semifinals and a date with Fosston at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the REA in Thief River. Fosston advanced to the semifinals by downing Kelliher-Northome in Thursday’s late game at BSU.

The Warriors, who have won 12 of their past 13 games, will take a 16-3 record into the contest.

“I think our lack of not playing a game in two weeks showed early in the game,” said Red Lake coach Randy Holthusen. “We came out flat but we were able to pull it together at the end.”

CL-B (4-21) kept pace with the Warriors early in the game but Red Lake’s speed, both on offense and defense, proved too much for the Panthers to counter.

The tide turned midway through the first half when Red Lake constructed an 8-0 run which transformed a 17-17 tie into a 25-17 lead for the Warriors. By intermission Red Lake upped its advantage to 41-27 and five minutes into the second stanza the margin was 54-33.

Red Lake’s early offense was paced by freshman Grace White and eighth grader Alexis Desjarlait. White scored 19 points in the opening session while Desjarlait contributed 10.

Most of White’s points came from the paint while Desjarlait converted once from 3-point land, three times from the free throw line and twice from close range.

CL-B’s first-half offense was led by Antonia Archambault who drained four buckets from long range on way to a 14-point half.

“In the first half our help defense wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be,” Holthusen said.

Any hopes of a CL-B comeback in the final 18 minutes were quickly dashed as the Warriors matched the Panthers point for point before a spurt that produced a 30-point cushion.

Red Lake’s defense was instrumental in the run as its constant pressure on the basketball caused numerous Cass Lake-Bena turnovers which were turned into fast-break opportunities.

“We just wanted to push the ball down court and wear them down,” Holthusen said of Red Lake’s strategy.

“In the second half we did that and we got about 15 uncontested layups by doing that.

“Our goal tonight wasn’t to score points on offense, it was to score with our defense,” the coach continued. “I want to make it so we score three-quarters of our points with our defense.”

White finished with 33 points and Desjarlait had 13. Sam Roy added 12.

Archambault tallied 22 for CL-B and Sheila DeVault tallied 10.

Red Lake (85): Sam Roy 5, 1-1, 12; Mountain 2, 2-2, 6; Se.Roy 1, 2-5, 4; Barrett 3, 2-4, 9; Desjarlait 4, 4-6,13; White 14, 5-7, 33; Beaulieu 1, 1-4, 3; Seki 0, 2-2, 2; McClain 2, 0-0, 4. Totals: 32, 19-31, 85

Cass Lake-Bena (48): Reyes 2, 2-3, 8; Archambault 9, 0-1, 22; DeVault 3, 4-9, 10; Staples 1, 0-2, 2; Busick 0, 0-0, 0; Fairbanks 2, 0-0, 4; Kingbird 0, 1-2, 1; Jacobs 0, 0-0, 0. Totals: 17, 8-17, 48

3-point FG: Red Lake 3 (Sam Roy 1, Barrett 1, Desjarlait 1); CL-B 5 (Archambault 4, Reyes 1)

Fouls: Red Lake 18, CL-B 21

Halftime: Red Lake 41, CL-B 27

Fosston 65, K-N 49

Fosston pulled off a minor upset in Thursday’s second game at BSU as the fifth-seeded Greyhounds defeated No. 4 Kelliher-Northome 65-49.

A week ago Fosston stopped the Mustangs 64-50 in Fosston in the regular season finale for both teams and the Greyhounds made it two in a row Thursday.

Abby Swanson led the early charge as the sophomore guard scored 14 points which helped Fosston take a 31-25 lead at the break. Kelliher-Northome’s early offense was led by senior Kelly Heck who tallied 11 points in the opening 18 minutes.

The Greyhounds began the second half with a 6-1 spurt and opened a double-digit lead at 37-26.

Abby Swanson’s basket off an in-bounds feed and free throw increased Fosston’s advantage to 55-40 with 6:12 to play and the Mustangs never crept within single digits again.

Swanson had a game-high 29 points for Fosston and Heck paced the Mustangs with 22.. Fosston will take a 13-13 record into Saturday’s game against Red Lake. Kelliher-Northome finished with an 11-14 record.

Kelliher-Northome (49): Salmonson 3, 0-0, 8; Heck 10, 1-2, 22; Weidenborner 1, 1-2, 3; Wagner 2, 0-2, 4; Hudec 4, 0-2, 8; Head 2, 0-0, 4. Totals: 22, 2-8, 49

Fosston (65): Swanson 12, 5-5, 29; Curfman 5, 2-2, 12; Viken 1, 0-2, 2; Hubbard 6, 0-0, 13, Nelson 3, 3-4, 12. Totals: 27, 10-13, 65

3-point FG: K-N 3 (Salmonson 2, Heck 1); Fosston 1 (Hubbard 1)

Fouls: K-N 17, Fosston 12

Halftime: Fosston 33, K-N 25

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