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Cass Lake-Bena headed to final after beating Mahnomen in a thriller

Cass Lake-Bena's Tommy Huesers tries to drive past Mahnomen's Brandon White in the Section 8-1A semifinals Tuesday night at Thief River Falls. Photo by Mike Lundgren, Thief River Falls Times

Senior guard Martin Wind connected on three 3-pointers in a 55-second span late in the game and sparked Cass Lake-Bena to an 86-74 victory over Mahnomen in the Section 8-1A boys basketball semifinals Tuesday night at Thief River Falls.

The win sends the Panthers to the championship game Friday night at 7 p.m. against the Northern Freeze, a 73-62 winner over Warren-Alvarado-Oslo in Tuesday's other semifinal.

Mahnomen led 71-69 after Mitch Kochmann hit a short jump shot with 3:37 remaining. That's when Wind took matters into his own hands with his 3-point barrage to put the Panthers on top 78-71. Wind finished with 25 points, five assists and five steals.

The lead changed hands 13 times and there were 14 ties.

"It was a battle, and we teach our kids how to come to battle," said CL-B coach Dan Ninham. "We've come from behind before. We were down 18 to Devils Lake and won, and we trailed Red Lake by 15 and came back. Our kids are comfortable coming from behind. We don't fall behind on purpose, but the kids handle the situation real well."

Tommy Huesers and Tyler Trosen played very well and led the Panthers until Wind took over at the end. Huesers had 19 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals. Trosen added 17 points and 14 rebounds. The Panthers also got 15 points from Ben Cameron.

That offset a 32-point performance by Mahnomen's Brandon White.

Cass Lake-Bena made 32 of 69 shots from the field (46 percent) and hit 14 of 19 free throws. The Panthers won the rebound battle 37-26.

In Section 8-2A, Thief River Falls knocked off East Grand Forks 60-55 and Crosby-Ironton outlasted Hawley 53-46. The winners will meet for the championship at 7 p.m. Friday night at the Bemidji State University Gymnasium.

Grand Rapids won the Section 7-3A championship with a 62-56 victory over Cloquet on Tuesday night.

Mahnomen: Avery Fairbanks 7, Dylan Stevens 9, Brandon White 32, Alex Lavoy 7, Mitch Kochmann 10, Jacob Pavek 9.

Cass Lake-Bena: Chad Wittner 4, Martin Wind 25, Tyler Trosen 17, Caleb Fisher 4, Jake Ellis 2, Ben Cameron 15, Tommy Huesers 19.

Halftime: Mahnomen 41, CL-B 40.