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Kerry Collins, Published March 26 2009

Pelican makes semis behind Lindberg's big game

MINNEAPOLIS – Brad Strand thought one of his worst nightmares was happening in the first round of the Minnesota Class 2A state basketball tournament.

Jan-Erik Lindberg’s dreamy first half brightened things up a bit.

Lindberg hit five first-half

3-pointers for top-ranked Pelican Rapids with star Tydan Storrusten on the bench with foul trouble, and the Vikings scored a 71-56 victory over New London-Spicer at Williams Arena on Wednesday.

“It takes five to make a team, but that’s a pretty big link that was missing,” said Lindberg, who finished with 20 points. “But that shows us that we can do it. We found a way.”

Storrusten, Pelican Rapids’ all-time leading scorer, sat the final 14 minutes, 22 seconds of the first half with three fouls. When he left, the Vikings trailed the defending state champs 13-5.

“We’re down eight with 2,000 points and 700 assists on the bench. You think I was nervous?” Pelican Rapids coach Brad Strand said. “But I didn’t see nervousness (in the players). I really didn’t.”

After Storrusten left, Lindberg hit a trio of 3-pointers in a 14-1 run that gave the Vikings a 19-14 lead.

The defense tightened up in that run, particularly from Eric Shulstad – who had four blocks in the first half. That pushed the Vikings to a 36-28 lead at the break.

“A lot of us stepped up on defense because we just had to,” Shulstad said.

“Jan got some things going from the outside, and then it was everybody. It’s been everybody all year.”

New London-Spicer battled back to lead 50-49 with 9:52 to play, but Shulstad converted back-to-back three-point plays to give the Vikings the lead for good.

Both were set up by great passes through traffic from Storrusten – who finished with 15 points and five assists.

“Those two just need to look at each other and they know where to go,” Strand said. “Those were two big plays.”

The bucket that gave NLS the one-point lead was the last field goal of the game for the Wildcats, who managed just six free throws the rest of the way.

Shulstad and Matt Skow-Anderson created all kinds of havoc on defense over the last 10 minutes.

Shulstad finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks, while Skow-Anderson had seven steals and four blocks. Ten of Shulstad’s rebounds and all of Skow-Anderson’s boards were on defense.

“(Skow-Anderson’s) hands were everywhere,” Shulstad said with a laugh. “He’s just a great athlete. He’s all arms and legs and elbows, and he gets after it.”

PELICAN RAPIDS (31-0): Haugen 1 0-0 2, Storrusten 5 4-4 15, Skow-Anderson 4 0-0 8, Shulstad 6 2-2 16, Lindberg 6 2-2 20, Lage 0 1-2 1, Sorum 0 1-2 1, Guler 3 1-2 8. Totals 25 11-14 71.

NEW LONDON-SPICER (23-9): Jay Moten 5 2-2 15, Tengwall 2 4-6 9, Jayme Moten 4 1-2 11, Zylstra 2 2-2 6, Johnson 2 0-1 4, Tobkin 0 0-1 0, Hartley 0 1-2 1, Jenny 4 2-2 10. Totals 19 12-18 56.

Half: PR 36, NLS 28. 3-pointers: Lindberg 6, Shulstad 2, Storrusten, Guler, Jay Moten 3, Jayme Moten 2, Tengwall. Total fouls: PR 19, NLS 15. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: PR 35 (Shulstad 12). NLS 37 (Johnson 7). Assists: PR 14 (Storrusten 5). NLS 10 (Jayme Moten 6). Turnovers: PR 23. NLS 24. Blocks: PR 9 (Shulstad 5). NLS 1 (Jay Moten 1). Steals: PR 12 (Skow-Anderson 7). NLS 11 (Zylstra 5).

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548.

Collins’ blogs can be found

at www.areavoices.com