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Section playoff picture begins to materialize for area basketball teams

The Section 8A girls basketball playoff picture is beginning to materialize and the chase for the top spot in the East Sub-Section continues between Clearbrook-Gonvick and Red Lake.

Entering this week’s action the Bears owned that position with a QRF ranking of 68.9. Red Lake, however, was on their heels with a 63.0 QRF.

Fosston has a solid grasp on the No. 3 position with a 54.3 QRF and Kelliher-Northome clings to fourth at 46.9.

Not far behind the Mustangs is Mahnomen with a 42.0 QRF.

A heated chase is developing for the final six division positions as Cass Lake-Bena has a QRF of 28.9, Lake of the Woods begins the week at 26.2, Blackduck at 22.9, RLCC at 20.2 and Laporte at 16.3.

Well behind everyone is Bug O Nay Ge Shig at 4.8.

In recent action Clearbrook-Gonvick came up short in its bid to gain revenge over Pine River. The Bears are 16-2 and both losses have come to Pine River. In mid-January C-G lost 53-37 and last weekend the Bears tumbled 66-45.

This week they will hope to regain their winning ways when they face Cass Lake on Thursday, Kelliher-Northome on Friday, Bagley on Monday and Nevis on Tuesday.

Red Lake won its only game of the past week, bumping Cass Lake-Bena 88-62. The Warriors (10-5) visited Laporte Tuesday.

Laporte (1-14) also hosts CL-B Friday.

Kelliher-Northome went 1-2 in recent action, defeating Lake of the Woods 72-39 but falling twice to Littlefork, 69-47 and 75-64.

K-N opened another busy week Tuesday at Walker-Hackensack-Akeley. On Friday the Mustangs visit C-G and Friday they host Pine River. Also on tap are Monday’s game with Blackduck and Tuesday’s contest at Red Lake.

CL-B dropped a 72-27 decision at Crosby-Ironton Monday and fell to 4-15 on the year. The Panthers will entertain Clearbrook-Gonvick Friday and travel to Laporte Saturday.

Blackduck dropped to 4-14 last week after losing 53-39 to WHA and 72-20 to Badger-Greenbush-Middle River.

The Drakes head to Deer River today and host Pine River Friday.

Bagley (10-9) went 1-2 over the past week, losing 87-45 to Crookston and 78-61 to Win-E-Mac before belting Norman County West 74-42.

The Flyers currently are fifth in the seven-team Section 8-2A North QRF rankings. On Tuesday they faced No. 6 Park Rapids and Thursday they will tangle with non-section opponent Lake Park-Audubon.

In the loss to Crookston the Flyers started slowly and trailed 53-26 at the break. Sean Benson had 15 points and Kari Skersick tallied 11.

The game against Win-E-Mac followed a similar pattern as Bagley was behind 40-22 at intermission. The Flyers mounted a rally in the second half but came up short.

Jaysha Pemberton finished with 18 points and Skersick had 13.

Section 8A boys

Red Lake, Kelliher-Northome and Blackduck remain in the hunt for the No. 3 spot in the 8A East Sub-Section ratings. WHA and Mahnomen appear to have a lock on the top two positions and Fosston currently third with a 54.9 QRF.

Red Lake is a close fourth at 53.2 while K-N is at 50.2, Blackduck at 48.6. Cass Lake-Bena currently is seventh at 42.6 while Laporte is a distant eighth at 22.1 and C-G is ninth at 21.8.

Trailing the pack are Lake of the Woods at 15.5 and Bug O Nay Ge Shig at 9.7.

Red Lake (11-9) lost some ground last week when it fell 91-73 at Cass Lake-Bena (5-9). The Warriors have the opportunity to put some separation between them and K-N when they battle in Red Lake on Thursday.

Kelliher-Northome (10-4) hosted top-ranked WHA Tuesday and will also entertain Pine River Saturday.

CL-B visited Nevis Tuesday, hosts Clearbrook-Gonvick Thursday and travels to Laporte Friday. Last Saturday the Panthers lost 62-55 at Crosby-Ironton.

“I thought we played a pretty solid first half even though we trailed 34-29,” said CL-B coach Brian Michaelson. “Turnovers once again hurt us in the second half and we were about as cold as the weather outside when it came to our outside shooting.”

Jordan Collins led the Panthers with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Alvin Wind added 12 points and Josh LaDuke nine.

Blackduck (11-7) split two games last week, losing 71-61 to WHA but edging BGMR 67-65 in two overtimes.

The Drakes are off until Tuesday when they travel to Lake of the Woods.

Laporte (3-11) lost 77-54 to Nevis and Clearbrook-Gonvick (2-14) fell to Fosston 63-46 and to K-N 76-40 in recent action.

The Bears visit CL-B Thursday and Sacred Heart Friday.

Bagley (5-14) began the week at the bottom of the 8-2A North Sub-Section ratings. The Flyers are coming off a 1-1 week, losing 78-48 to Win-E-Mac but topping Norman County West 78-62.

Friday finds them at Lake Park-Audubon.

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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