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AREA BASKETBALL: Tight race at the top of Northwoods standings

CASS LAKE – Earlier this winter, the Cass Lake-Bena boys basketball team outgunned Red Lake 97-96 in Red Lake. On Friday the teams will stage their rematch in Cass Lake, and the fans on both sides will be expecting another offensive show.

During the past decade a Red Lake-CLB game usually matches two of the top teams in the Northland Conference.

This winter, however, Walker-Hackensack-Akeley is the king of the hill.

WHA is 4-0 in the conference and 10-1 overall after defeating Clearbrook-Gonvick 82-51 Tuesday night.

It’s a tight race at the top, as Blackduck and Nevis are tied for second behind WHA with identical 4-1 conference records.

Nevis, now 6-4 overall, beat Red Lake 82-78 Tuesday night while Blackduck lost to Deer River 70-62 in nonconference action. The Drakes are also 6-4 overall.

Cass Lake-Bena, Kelliher-Northome and Red Lake are all fighting for position in the middle of the conference standings.

Cass Lake’s 77-43 win over Pine River-Backus, coupled with an idle Kelliher-Northhome team and Red Lake’s loss at Nevis, helped the Panthers leapfrog over the Mustangs and the Warriors for third in the conference standings.

Cass Lake-Bena is 3-3 in Northland action and 3-6 overall, while Kelliher-Northome is 2-2 and 5-3 overall and and Red Lake is 2-3 and 6-7.

Bringing up the rear of the conference is Pine River (1-5, 1-12) and Laporte (0-5, 0-7).

Blackduck split two Northland games last week, losing 75-69 at Red Lake and thumping Pine River 65-27. Today the Drakes will host Lake of the Woods and on Friday they will head south to take on WHA.

Kelliher-Northome won its only game last week, outlasting CL-B 92-81.

The Mustangs fell at Roseau 74-62 Tuesday night, will head to Clearbrook-Gonvick (2-8) today and visit Laporte on Friday.

In addition to the victory over Blackduck, last week Red Lake dropped an 84-76 non-conference game at Warren-Alvarado-Oslo. The Warriors travel to CL-B Friday and head to Kelliher-Northome next Tuesday.

 Friday’s game against Red Lake is the first of three home appearances for CL-B in the next week. The Panthers also entertain Deer River on Tuesday and host Laporte on Jan. 18.

Laporte will continue its search for the elusive first victory Friday at Kelliher-Northome.

Clearbrook-Gonvick fell to WHA Tuesday and today the Bears will entertain K-N. Friday finds Clearbrook-Gonvick at Red Lake County Central and on Tuesday the Bears will welcome Blackduck.

Bagley is 2-3 in Pine to Prairie Conference play (4-7 overall) and is fifth in the six-team North Division standings.

Win-E-Mac and Fertile-Beltrami lead the division at 4-1 while Mahnomen and Fosston are 2-2. Climax-Fisher trails the pack at 0-3.

On Friday the Flyers will host Norman County East and Tuesday sees them at Ada-Borup.

Girls basketball

After falling to undefeated Win-E-Mac 49-25 Tuesday night, the Bagley girls basketball team dropped from second place to third in the Pine to Prairie North Division standings.

The Flyers, now 5-5 overall and 4-2 in conference play,  take on Norman County East Friday in another conference matchup.

Win-E-Mac’s victory over the Flyers gives the Patriots a 9-0 overall record and a 5-0 mark in the conference. The Patriots’ victory also allowed Mahnomen to take over sole possession of second place.

The Indians defeated Fosston 65-60 in double overtime and are now 5-1 in the conference and 6-3 overall.

Trailing the conference leaders are Fosston (2-3), Fertile-Beltrami (1-4) and Climax-Fisher (0-4).

Ada-Borup heads the South Division at 5-0 (7-1 overall) while Lake Park-Audubon is 5-1.

Bagley hosts Norman County East Friday and visits Ada-Borup Tuesday.

Clearbrook-Gonvick and Pine River are the leaders in the Northwoods Conference.

Pine River is 6-0 (8-2 overall) while the Bears are undefeated at 11-0 and 5-0 after topping WHA 57-50 Tuesday night.

Kelliher-Northome entered the week 5-1 in the league (7-2) but were idle Tuesday.

Nevis is 3-2 (4-6), WHA 2-4 (3-10), Blackduck 1-4 (2-6), Laporte 0-5 (1-7) and Cass Lake-Bena 0-6 (0-11).

Clearbrook-Gonvick will be tested Friday at K-N and Monday at Pine River. Tuesday sees the Bears hosting Blackduck.

In addition to Friday’s game against Clearbrook-Gonvick, Kelliher-Northome will make the trip to Red Lake on Tuesday. In recent action K-N defeated CL-B 91-73 and drilled Bigfork 75-45.

Blackduck lost 94-28 at Pine River last week and will be at WHA Friday. Tuesday finds the Drakes traveling to Clearbrook-Gonvick.

Laporte entered the win column for the first time last week when it stopped Bug O Nay Ge Shig 60-14. The Wildcats are off until Jan. 17 when they host Clearbrook-Gonvick.

Cass Lake-Bena continued its struggles last week, losing to K-N and 73-37 to Clearbrook-Gonvick. The Panthers fell Pine River 86-18 Tuesday and will head to Nevis on Thursday.

Friday sees CL-B welcoming Red Lake and on Tuesday Deer River will visit Cass Lake.

Red Lake has been off since Dec. 13 and will make its 2013 debut today at home against Red Lake County Central. On Tuesday the Warriors will visit K-N. 

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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