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BOYS BASKETBALL: Second surge lifts Red Lake to Section 8A championship game

THIEF RIVER FALLS — Fosston weathered one surge by Red Lake.

The Greyhounds couldn’t handle another by Red Lake’s Rob McClain.

McClain had his hand in all nine points in a 9-0 run that sparked Red Lake to a 73-57 win against Fosston on Monday in the championship game of the Minnesota East Subsection 8A boys high school basketball tournament.

“We tell Rob to let the game come to him,’’ Red Lake coach Roger White said. “He does things naturally rather than force things. He can score and defend. And when defenses suck in on him, he’ll make the passes.’’

Fosston used a 7-0 run to pull within 50-48 with 6:23 remaining. Then McClain took over. The 6-foot-4 junior guard scored back-to-back baskets, on a short jumper in the lane and a steal and fast-break layup.

On the Warriors’ next basket, McClain blocked a shot, grabbed the defensive rebound and made the outlet pass that led to a Will Morrison layup. Morrison capped the run with a 3-pointer off another McClain pass with 4:13 remaining. Fosston got no closer than seven the rest of the way.

“That was just a good player taking over,’’ Fosston coach Ben Hemberger said of McClain.

Fosston had to play comeback most of the game after Red Lake went on a 16-0 run in the first half to take a 24-8 lead. The Warriors were ahead 39-30 at halftime, only to see Fosston inch closer.

“Our kids are fighters,’’ Hemberger said. “They scratched for everything. But that (24-8 deficit) was a lot to overcome.

“I thought we had some momentum. We missed a 3-pointer from the corner that would have given us the lead (at 51-50). That would have been big. But then they went on another one of those runs that they’re known for.’’

While Red Lake put 73 points on the scoreboard, White credited defense for the win after Fosston rallied to within two.

“At that point, there still was a lot of time left,’’ White said. “We had to get some stops on defense and get some rebounds. Our defense starts our offense. It gets us into our transition game.’’

Senior 6-foot-6 center Cody Baumann paced the Greyhounds with 16 points. Guards Jesse Sather and Hunter Kroening added 11 and 10, respectively, for the Greyhounds, who closed the season with a 19-10 record.

Balanced Red Lake (25-4) had five players in double figures. McClain set the pace with 16 points while also grabbing 10 rebounds. Jamie Cook scored 14, Jeremy Martin 13, Morrison 12 and Kendall Whitefeather 11.

Red Lake plays West subsection champion Northern Freeze in the section championship game at 7 p.m. here Friday.

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