Panthers handle Verndale, move to section final
PARK RAPIDS - Cass Lake-Bena's 2-3 press is quickly reaching legendary status. The long and athletic CLB boys basketball team smothered Verndale with its pressure to win the Class 1A, Section 6 East sub-section for the second straight year 101-67...
PARK RAPIDS - Cass Lake-Bena's 2-3 press is quickly reaching legendary status.
The long and athletic CLB boys basketball team smothered Verndale with its pressure to win the Class 1A, Section 6 East sub-section for the second straight year 101-67 Tuesday at Park Rapids' Century Middle School.
"We run the press very well," said senior Dave Chessmore who led the game with 19 points. "It's the Cass Lake-Bena press. We've been running it for three years. Why stop running something nobody can stop."
"Every one of us have long arm spans," said senior Kevin Muller who added 18 points in the win.
CLB's starting lineup ranged in height from 6-foot-3 to 6-foot-6 and each possessed a sizable wingspan. That combination led to numerous deflections on the press which led to numerous layups.
The Panthers have not relied solely on the fast break to score an average of 101 points this season, they can also shoot from 3-point range.
However, when long-range shots aren't falling the height and wingspan can be useful under the basket.
The Panthers, who regularly reached 10 or more 3-pointers in a game this season, failed to make a 3 in the first half.
But Chessmore, who scored 16 points in the first half, was there to pull in the offensive rebound.
"I was just fighting and looking for the open spots," Chessmore said.
Verndale kept up with the Panthers through the first 10 minutes trailing just 13-11 after a Shane Finck 3 at the 11:05 mark.
CLB broke the game open from there with four straight buckets to lead 21-11 just over a minute later.
The Pirates, however, put together a 12-2 run to trail just 31-27 with 3:55 to play in the first half.
Again, the Panthers rattled off four straight baskets to lead 39-27 with 2:30 to play.
The two teams traded baskets from there and CLB led 45-37 at the half.
"In the first half we were a little slow moving around the ball but in the second half we did what you usually do," Muller said.
Muller set the tone in the second half draining a 10-footer just 20 seconds into the second.
Anthony Robinson, who scored 16 points, then followed with a layup and the first of seven 3s by CLB in the second half.
The Panthers broke the game open at the midway point of the second half.
Junior Brady Fairbanks fueled a 17-7 run with six of his 14 points to put CLB up 74-51 with 8:20 to play.
Robinson's 3-point play with 4:14 left sparked a 20-5 run to end the game.
Both benches cleared with two and half minutes to play.
Verndale (17-13) was led by Finck who scored 16 points. Wayne Kopp added 15 and Jon Price ended with 11.
Fairbanks entered the game for the first time four minutes into the second half. The team's leading scorer played on a need-be basis after rolling his ankle six weeks ago and then tweaking it recently.
The win pushed the Panthers record to 28-1 on the year and have put together a string of four-straight 100-point wins - all by 34 points or more.
It is far different from last season when CLB won by seven, three, 20 and 2 points.
"I don't look at is as a breeze because we respect everybody we play," CLB head coach Dan Ninham said of his team's domination entering the section final versus New York Mills Friday at 7 p.m. at Concordia-Moorhead.
NYM, who defeated Norman County East 73-68 Tuesday, stands in the way of the Panthers' second straight state tournament appearance.
Just because it's the section final don't expect anything different from the Panthers.
"We'll just keep doing the same thing, there are no secrets," Chessmore said. "We'll just keep playing our game."
Cass Lake-Bena 101, Verndale 67
Verndale (17-13): Kein 3, Kopp 15, Hill 7, Finch 16, Frice 11, Mayer 2, Fisher 7, Listall 2, Seaton 4.
Cass Lake-Bena (28-1): Travis Huesers 6, Brady Fairbanks 14, Lemon 3, Jake Fuller 3, Anthony Robinson 16, Kevin Muller 18, Wind 2, Joel Salscheider 12, Nate Salscheider 8, Dave Chessmore 19.
Halftime: CLB 45-37.
Class 1A, Section 6-East
All Tournament Teams
Brady Fairbanks, CLB
Zach Holsman, Hill City
Kevin Muller, CLB
Joel Salscheider, CLB
Tyler Day, Laporte
Brandon Roiko, Menagha
Wayne Kopp, Verndale
Anthony Robinson, CLB
Shane Finck, Verndale
Cole Boden, Hill City
Matt Lien, Nevis
Warren Nelson, Sebeka
Jared Kunnari, Northland
Justin Sharp, Sebeka
Andrew Skoog, Menahga
PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Brady Fairbanks, CLB
COACH OF THE YEAR
Dan Ninham, CLB