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Prep report: Lumberjacks, Hunters win at tournaments

Mesabi East surprised Cloquet with a late comeback in the girls tournament.

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Cloquet's Marco Mayorga goes up for a shot during a Wood City Classic tournament game against Cromwell-Wright on Tuesday, Dec. 28 at Cloquet Middle School. (Jake Przytarski / Cloquet Pine Journal)

Cloquet opened the Wood City Classic tournament with a convincing 67-30 win over Cromwell-Wright on Tuesday at Cloquet Middle School in the semifinals of the Wood City Classic.

Seniors Conner Barney and Alec Turnbull paced the Lumberjacks in scoring with 17 and 14 points respectively. Caleb Hansen also reached double figures with 13 points.

Coach Steve Battaglia was pleased with his team’s performance on both ends of the floor in the win.

“(We) kind of exerted our will a little bit. I thought we executed pretty well for most of the night. We defended pretty well and made life hard on them,” Battaglia said.

The Lumberjacks improved to 5-4 on the season with the win, and will close out the Wood City Classic with a matchup against Pine City, a 99-64 winner over Proctor, today at 6:15 p.m.

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Duluth Denfeld 70, Red Lake 66

Duluth Denfeld’s Dane Dzuck scored 22 points in the Hunters’ comeback win over Red Lake at the North Star State Hardwood Showcase in Hibbing.

Red Lake raced out to a 41-23 halftime lead, but Denfeld upped its defensive game in the second half to force turnovers and create points in transition.

The Hunters outscored the Warriors 47-25 in the second half to secure the win.

MarNaries Ferguson scored 20 points for Denfeld and Cam Oliphant scored 12.

Gerald Kingbird scored 20 for Red Lake.

In other quarterfinals, Superior knocked off Warroad 75-54 and Grand Rapids fell 75-47 to Columbia Heights.

Superior and Columbia Heights will meet in the first semifinal, with Denfeld facing Hibbing in the other.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Mesabi East 51, Cloquet 49

Cloquet saw a 13-point advantage slip away at the hands of Mesabi East, a 51-49 winner in Tuesday's Wood City Classic girls basketball tournament opener.

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The Lumberjacks held a 29-17 lead at halftime over the Giants, but had their lead slowly evaporate over the course of the second half.

Maddie Young finished with a team-high 18 points for the Lumberjacks, while Justice Paro added 14. The loss moves Cloquet to 6-3 on the season.

The Giants presented a daunting challenge with a distinct height advantage over the ‘Jacks, which was a point of emphasis heading into the contest.

“We knew coming in they were going to have size, so we practiced and prepared for that knowing that we just needed to get them out of the paint,” Coach Heather Young said. “We needed to get them out of the equation the best we could, and we just really struggled with that tonight. And by struggling with that, you allow them to clean up on the boards.”

Kora Forsline led the 4-2 Giants with 18 points.

Cloquet will look to rebound today with a matchup against Virginia at 4:30 p.m. to close out the Wood City Classic tournament

Duluth Denfeld 52, Nashwauk-Keewatin 51

Faith Grammer hit a 3-pointer late in the second half and Selah Reinertson hit a reverse layup to help Duluth Denfeld secure a 52-51 win over Nashwauk-Keewatin Tuesday in Chisholm.

The Hunters led by three at halftime and survived a second half comeback by the Spartans.

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Kyra Robinson led Denfeld with 13 points and Reinertson finished with 10.

Nashwauk-Keewatin’s Claire Clusiau led all scorers with 23 points.

Hermantown 68, Cherry 50

Hermantown’s Liv Birkeland hit four 3-pointers and scored 23 points for the Hawks in a 68-50 win over Cherry Tuesday at the Esko Coaches Classic.

Hermantown jumped out to a 38-29 lead at halftime and continued to expand the lead the rest of the game.

Joining Birkeland in double figures for the Hawks were Avery Farrell with 15 points and Lauryn Biondi with 10.

Rylee Mancina scored 15 to lead Cherry.

BOYS HOCKEY
Blake 6, Cloquet-Esko-Carlton 2

The Lumberjacks led early but it was short-lived, as the Bears erupted for six unanswered goals in skating to the victory in their B.I.G. Tradition tournament game at Bloomington (Minn.) Ice Garden.

Cloquet-Esko-Carlton’s Patrick Dunaiski opened the scoring just 22 seconds into the contest on an assist from Noah Knutson.

Carter Krenke scored the equalizer for Blake just over a minute later before Joey Antonutti put CEC back on top with a power-play goal at 5:47 in the first.

William Matzke knotted it up 2-2 for Blake at 9:49 in first period and scored what would stand as the game-winner, a short-handed tally at 1:37 in the second period.

T.C. Doran had 15 saves for the Bears (3-4) while Jacob Walsh had 35 saves for the Lumberjacks (3-6-1).

Madison Edgewood 3, Superior 1

J.J. Wiebusch scored a pair of goals to lead the Crusaders to victory at the Showdown in Titletown holiday tournament hosted by Green Bay Notre Dame.

Tristan Brennan scored the Spartans’ lone goal at 7:43 in the third period on assists from Braydon Hurtig and Tyler Friedrich.

Rowan White had 20 saves for Madison Edgewood (7-1) and Trevor Soderlund had 23 saves for Superior (4-4).

GIRLS HOCKEY
Proctor-Hermantown 6, Delano/Rockford 0

Rylee Gilbertson and Nya Sieger each scored a pair of goals as the Mirage cruised to victory in the Herb Brooks Holiday Classic gold semifinals at Super Rink 2 at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minnesota.

Hannah Graves and Izy Fairchild also scored goals for Proctor-Hermantown while Reese Heitzman had two assists.

Abby Pajari needed just 12 saves to notch the shutout for the defending Class A state champion Mirage (8-4-1) while Kayla Simonson had 51 saves for Delano/Rockford (7-6-1).

Proctor-Hermantown faces Rogers in the championship game today.

Duluth 4, Western Wisconsin 2

Emma Fellman had a goal and two assists to lead the Northern Stars to victory in the Herb Brooks Holiday Classic consolation gold semifinals at Super Rink 2 at the National Sports Center.

Jenna Horvat added a goal and an assist and Sophie Mitchell had 17 saves for Duluth while Emaliya Schultz had 16 saves for Western Wisconsin.

PREP SCOREBOARD

BOYS BASKETBALL

Columbia Heights 75, Grand Rapids 47

Pine City 99, Proctor 64

Cloquet 67, Cromwell-Wright 31

Moose Lake/Willow River 86, Concordia 76

Superior 75, Warroad 54

Solon Springs 64, Clayton 42

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Chisago Lakes 57, Proctor 46

Superior 63, Wausau West 59

South Ridge 111, Wrenshall 11

Duluth Denfeld 52, Nashwauk-Keewatin 51

Hermantown 68, Cherry 50

Mesabi East 51, Cloquet 49

Crosby-Ironton 71, Virginia 58

BOYS HOCKEY

Duluth Marshall 7, Red Lake Falls 1

Proctor 6, Somerset 3

Madison Edgewood 3, Superior 1

Duluth Denfeld 7, Spring Lake Park 1

Rock Ridge 6, Mound Westonka 1

GIRLS HOCKEY

Proctor-Hermantown 6, Delano/Rockford 0

Moorhead 4, Grand Rapids/Greenway 3

Central Wisconsin 6, Superior 0

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Both Duluth East basketball teams grabbed victories.