Back to state for Cass Lake-Bena basketball
THIEF RIVER FALLS - The Cass Lake-Bena boys basketball team is going back to the state tournament. The Panthers defeated Fertile-Beltrami 76-59 to claim the Section 8A Championship Tuesday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena. "We're really happy to go...
THIEF RIVER FALLS - The Cass Lake-Bena boys basketball team is going back to the state tournament.
The Panthers defeated Fertile-Beltrami 76-59 to claim the Section 8A Championship Tuesday night at Ralph Engelstad Arena.
"We're really happy to go back to state, it's going to be a different feeling going back there this year because we have the experience," Cass Lake-Bena junior Nate Howard said. "I think we can take it this year."
Howard and Martin Wind led the Panthers in Tuesday's victory with 21 points each. Nate Salscheider finished with 12 and Joel Salscheider added 11 points.
Cody Coauette led Fertile-Beltrami with 20 points.
It has been a challenging year for senior Travis Heusers, who missed most of the season to a ligament injury in his right knee. Despite the injury, he has been able to play in recent games.
As soon as the state was mentioned, a smile broke across his face.
"I'm excited that we can go back to state," Heusers said. "We just have so much talent, all of our players can shoot and all of us can defend. We can't wait to get there."
Cass Lake-Bena had little trouble with Fertile-Beltrami, putting away the game before halftime.
With Cass Lake-Bena ahead 9-6 seven minutes into the game, the Panthers shut down the Falcons. Cass Lake-Bena went on a 25-2 run over the next seven minutes and led 34-8 with seven minutes left in the first half.
The Panthers led 41-28 at halftime.
In the second half, the Panthers continued to control the game and built up their biggest lead to 23 points with 11:30 left in the game.
Joe Wilson scored 8 points and Ryan Lemon scored 2 for Cass Lake-Bena.
Jordan Solie's 14 points and Dustin Kise's 15 joined Coauette as the only players in double figures for the Falcons.
"This was a really fun game, Fertile-Beltrami was competitive and real deserving to be here," Cass Lake-Bena head coach Dan Ninham said.
Howard and Nate Salscheider led the Panthers on the glass with nine rebounds each. Nate Salscheider, Wind and Howard each had four assists. Nate Salscheider had seven steals and four blocks.
Cass Lake-Bena (27-3) carries a 15 game winning streak into the state tournament, which opens next Thursday in Minneapolis. The Panthers, which reached the state title game last season, will face Section 5A champion (Barnum or Bertha-Hewitt) at 1 p.m. at Mariucci Arena on the University of Minnesota campus.
"They got the job done and now we're headed to the big dance," Ninham said. "This is a great thing for our program, community and our fans."
CASS LAKE-BENA 76,
CL-Bena 41 35 76
Fertile-Beltrami 28 31 59
Cass Lake-Bena Ryan Lemon 2, Martin Wind 21, Joe Wilson 8, Nate Howard 21, Joel Salscheider 12, Nate Salscheider 12
Fertile-Beltrami Jordan Solie 14, Ryan Skaug 5, Cody Coauette 20, Dustin Kise 15, Tyler Rice 2, Ethan Gullickson 3