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Strong second half helps Moorhead top Bemidji for section boys basketball title

CROOKSTON, Minn. - Ten years is a long time to remember the rules, even if the public address announcer gives a friendly reminder. The Moorhead High School boys basketball team overcame a first-half double-digit deficit, hanging on in the second ...

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Bemidji's Carey Woods drives against Moorhead's Judd Roesler and Camden Bosche Thursday night in the Section 8-4A title game at Crookston. David Samson | Forum Communications

CROOKSTON, Minn. - Ten years is a long time to remember the rules, even if the public address announcer gives a friendly reminder.

The Moorhead High School boys basketball team overcame a first-half double-digit deficit, hanging on in the second half with a 58-52 win over Bemidji on Thursday to win the Minnesota Section 8-4A championship.

"I don't know how to describe it," said Spuds coach Corey Zimmerman. "I just know it feels nice to get back."

Moorhead (18-9) advances to the state tournament for the first time since 2002. This was also the Spuds' first section final since 2008.

So forgive Zimmerman, who played in the state tourney exactly 20 years ago, and the Moorhead faithful for being a bit excited considering the long drought. Bemidji, seeking its first trip to staate since 1985, didn't make it easy.

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Moorhead roared out to a 41-33 lead to open the second half, going 7 for 9 from the field while Bemidji went 2 for 9.

"We stopped attacking the basket," said Lumberjacks coach Jeff Brown. "We started settling for perimeter shots and that hurt us."

Bemidji, which finished the season 15-13, settled down midway through the half and at one point cut the lead to two points.

But Moorhead kept finding a way to stay ahead.

Whether it was Judd Roesler hitting an open jumper or Camden Bosche muscling for points in the paint or Aaron Lien driving for an easy basket, the Spuds just found a way.

It paid off considering Lien went 0 for 2 in the first, but rebounded to score 13 points.

"Everyone stepped up," Lien said. "Matt (Ellingson), Camden, Judd hitting those big shots. Everyone stepped up, and that's what we have to do to win."

He was right, as Moorhead had four scorers in double figures.

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Bemidji, in the last two minutes of the game, found ways to cut the lead to four points but Moorhead kept knocking down free throws to ice the game.

When the buzzer sounded, a sea of orange and black poured onto the court, even after the public address announcer reminded fans to stay off the court.

Moorhead athletic director Don Hulbert, with a smile on his face, easily shepherded the student section off the floor.

After the trophy ceremony was done, students and fans surrounded the team and Bosche.

Bosche was vital early in the game, knocking down his first five shots. He finished 7-for-7 from the field with 18 points and seven rebounds.

His reward? Other than the trip to the state tournament, it was having his teammates put a net around his neck.

"I like it," Bosche said about his new piece of jewelry. "It feels pretty good."

BEMIDJI: Declusin 1-3 0-2 2 Cervenka 3-4 2-2 9 Woods 8-20 3-3 23 Rutledge 2-5 2-4 6 Brown 2-11 1-1 6 Rainey 0-2 0-0 0 Z. Declusin 1-1 1-1 3 TOTALS: 16-45 9-13 52

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MOORHEAD: Ellingson 3-4 4-4 11 Lien 4-8 5-6 13 Nelson 1-5 0-0 3 Anderson 0-0 0-0 0 Bosche 7-7 4-9 18 Roesler 4-6 2-2 11 Bye 1-1 0-0 2 TOTALS: 20-31 14-21 58

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Hull was a five-time 50-goal scorer, led the NHL in goalscoring seven times, twice won the Hart Trophy and was voted a First-Team All-Star on the left wing 10 times.