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Kerry Collins, Published March 27 2009

Blistering opener: Ada-Borup shoots 65 percent in first-round victory at Minnesota state boys basketball tournament

MINNEAPOLIS – This was a new twist on an old favorite.

Watching state tournament blowouts is nothing new for Ada-Borup basketball fans, but this time the boys team delivered.

The Cougars hammered Cass Lake-Bena 82-44 in the first round of the Class 1A state boys basketball tournament on Thursday, shooting a blistering 64.8 percent from the field.

“We were getting good looks and we were hitting,” Cougars coach Trevor Stewart said. “I don’t know if we can shoot much better than that.”

Ada-Borup will play two-time defending state champion Ellsworth in the semifinals today.

The Cougars trailed 9-4 early, but cracked off a 21-4 burst that closed with 3-pointers from Payton Kujava, Tyler Narum and Yuri Johnson.

After Cass Lake-Bena closed it to nine at 25-16, the Cougars responded with a 13-0 surge with five different scorers for a 38-16 lead with 6 minutes, 14 seconds to go.

“It helps when it’s all lay-ups,” said Yuri Johnson, who led AB with 27 points. “We were getting in the middle of their trap, and it got us a lot of good looks, and we hit them.”

Ada-Borup led by 18 at halftime, and removed all hope of a Cass Lake-Bena comeback by scoring the first 11 points of the second half.

The final 6:30 of the game was played in running time.

“It’s an 18-point game at the half, and we feel like we have to chip away at it,” CLB coach Dan Ninham said. “That chip didn’t happen. They kept coming.

“It was a strange situation for us to be on the other side of a game like that.”

Ada-Borup hit 35 of 54 from the field (64.8 percent) for the game, and was 8-for-15 (53.3 percent) from behind the arc. Johnson and Tyler Narum hit three 3-pointers apiece.

“We like to get inside for those high-percentage shots, but the 3-pointers were big for us,” Johnson said. “We were really getting everybody involved.”

Blake Bueng had 16 points and seven rebounds, while Narum finished with 13 points.

The Cougars also had 24 assists on their 35 field goals, led by Kujava’s seven.

Cass Lake-Bena was led by Martin Wind’s 16 points. While Ada-Borup was hitting practically everything, the Panthers had a much more difficult time.

CLB made just 22.2 percent (16 of 72) from the field, and was only 3-for-30 (10 percent) from the floor in the second half.

The Cougars will play in the semifinals at 2 p.m. today at Target Center.

CASS LAKE-BENA (24-7): Wind 5 4-6 16, O’Brien 0 2-2 2, Howard 4 0-0 9, Cameron 4 1-2 9, Trosen 2 1-2 5, Ellis 1 0-0 2, Connor 0 1-2 1. Totals 16 9-14 44.

ADA-BORUP (26-4): Kujava 3 0-0 7, Narum 5 0-0 13, Johnson 10 4-4 27, Bueng 8 0-1 16, Mitteness 2 0-1 4, Nelson 2 0-0 4, Balzum 2 0-0 4, Webb 2 0-0 5, Grunewald 1 0-0 2. Totals 35 4-6 82.

Half: AB 48, CLB 30. 3-pointers: Wind 2, Howard, Narum 3, Johnson 3, Kujava. Total fouls: CLB 11, AB 11. Fouled out: none. Rebounds: CLB 41 (Cameron 13). AB 36 (Bueng 7, Mitteness 7, Balzum 7). Assists: CLB 3 (Howard 2). AB 24 (Kujava 7). Turnovers: CLB 8, AB 10. Blocks: CLB 1 (Trosen 1). AB 9 (Bueng 5). Steals: CLB 6 (Cameron 2, Trosen 2). AB 5 (5 tied with 1).

Readers can reach Forum reporter Kerry Collins at (701) 241-5548.

Collins’ blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com