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Tigers lose twice

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Mitchell Blaha’s 23 points paced the Verndale Pirates to an 83-67 win over the Pine River-Backus Tigers on Friday, Jan. 24.

The Tigers were led by Zach Struss with 16 points and Konrad Bueckers with 14. Eric Blaha contributed 18 points for the Pirates, who improved to 14-3.

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PR-B, 2-13 overall, was postponed both against Pillager on Monday, Jan. 27, and Park Rapids on Tuesday, Jan. 28, but scheduled to play at Pequot Lakes on Thursday, Jan. 30.

Verndale 40 43 — 83

PR-Backus 35 32 — 67

VERNDALE

Marcos Gomez 11, Ethan Korfe 3, Mitchell Blaha 23, Colter Ehrmantraut 9, Eric Blaha 18, Mac Schluttner 5, James Kveton 12, Will Kramer 2. FG 30-61 (49 percent), FT 15-20 (75 percent). 3-point 8-18 (44 percent). Overall: 14-3. Next: at Bertha-Hewitt 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

PINE RIVER-BACKUS

Zach Semmler 8, Hank Raph 3, TJ Lukanen 6, Cole Larson 9, Konrad Bueckers 14, Tony Pederson 9, Saul Sasse 2, Zach Struss 16. FG 27-53 (51 percent), FT 9-18 (50 percent). 3-point 4-8 (50 percent).

CL-Bena 73, Tigers 56

On Tuesday, Jan. 21, Zach Struss had 19 points for PR-B in a Northland Conference game against Cass Lake-Bena. Konrad Bueckers added 13 points for the Tigers, who are 1-8 in the conference.

The Tigers struggled against the full court press, leading to turnovers and easy points on the other end. Cass Lake played very effectively on the offensive end, showing patience on nearly every possession to find an open look at the basket.

Cass Lake opened the game with a 16-2 lead, which was deflating to the young Tigers squad. Cass Lake shot the ball well throughout the game.

Despite PR-B’s efforts, they went into the locker room facing an uphill climb, as they were down 40-18.

A critical difference between the two squads was the methodical offense that Cass Lake versus the rushed and poor shot selection often exhibited by the Tigers. The Wolves were extremely patient in their shot selection every time down the court.

“They made us play 30 seconds on the defensive end nearly every time down,” said head coach Shaun Howard, “which was difficult for us to do. Then we would come down and take a quick shot.”

The Wolves patient offense paid off, as they were able to find a high quality shot, converting more often than not.

The Tigers were able to outscore their opponents in the second half 38-33.

CL-Bena 40 33 — 73

PR-Backus 18 38 — 56

CASS LAKE-BENA

Damien Kingbird 17, Josh LaDuke 26, Alvin Wind 12, Will Kingbird 4, David Jones 4, Gage Headbird 6, Anthony DuBois 2, Nic Rairdon 2. FT 12-21 (57 percent).

PINE RIVER-BACKUS

Hank Raph 6, TJ Lukanen 6, Cole Larson 7, Konrad Bueckers 13, Travon Pederson 4, Saul Sasse 1, Zach Struss 19. FG 18-74 (24 percent), FT 13-20 (65 percent). 3-point 5-18 (28 percent).

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