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Published March 10 2012

Spuds pick up a victory in boys basketball section semifinal

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – A dominant scorer, an emerging center and a patient point guard are all nice things to have, especially in the postseason.

The Moorhead boys basketball team had all those things Saturday, with swingman Aaron Lien scoring 31 points in an 81-57 win over Brainerd in the Minnesota Class 4A, Section 8 semifinals at St. Cloud State University. Moorhead (17-9) will face Bemidji (15-12) on Thursday in the section final at a site to be determined.

“We’re playing well at the right time,” said Spuds coach Corey Zimmerman. “Our last four games in the regular season weren’t great, but we’ve been playing really well in the playoffs.”

The Spuds might have run away with the game, but it wasn’t always that way.

Brainerd (14-13) held a 27-20 lead with about seven minutes left in the first half until Moorhead got it going, starting with Lien.

Lien, a junior, was his typical self. He got his points by slashing into the lane, getting open on screens and hitting those mid-range jumpers he’s become so accustomed to hitting.

Lien had 20 points by halftime, with Moorhead holding a 34-30 lead.

“We started standing (around), and when we do that, that’s when we get off to slow starts,” said Lien, who finished 13-for-19 from the field. “We just started playing with more energy. Moving for each other and setting screens for each other.”

Just when Brainerd started to focus on Lien, Moorhead’s offense changed it up.

Point guard Matt Ellingson, who had six assists, slowed things down, making sure the Spuds had a stronger shot selection and high percentage shots.

Moorhead center Camden Bosche was the beneficiary, scoring 14 points and getting six rebounds.

Bosche used his 6-foot-6 frame to peel off people in the post to get points and rebounds.

Following an Austin Nelson missed 3-pointer, Bosche came out of nowhere, snagging the rebound and getting the put-back for a 58-40 lead.

Bosche did it again on the following possession when Lien missed a shot only to get the rebound, get fouled and score in the process.

His free throw made it 61-40.

“It’s the end of the season, so if you lose, you’re done,” said Bosche, who also went 4-for-5 from the free-throw line. “I guess as far as what I did, I was just trying to do what I could.”

When it came time to put in the reserves with the Spuds holding a big lead late, Zimmerman smiled when he told Lien and Bosche to move further down the bench.

“Oh, that was nice,” Bosche said about the rest. “It’s nice when the reserves come in. It gives them a chance to play. That’s always good to see.”

MOORHEAD: Nelson 4-9 0-0 10 Roesler 2-2 2-2 6 Bosche 5-6 4-5 14 Ellingson 4-6 4-6 13 Lien 13-19 4-5 31 Dorrow 0-0 3-4 3 Dobbins 0-0 0-2 0 Swenson 1-1 0-0 2 Anderson 0-0 2-4 2 N. Anderson 0-0 0-2 0 TOTALS: 29-47 19-30 81

BRAINERD: Kine 3-5 1-1 7 Comstok 2-3 1-2 5 Hanson 0-1 0-0 0 Sauer 3-7 5-8 14 Olson 1-6 1-2 3 Peterson 4-6 0-0 9 Sauer 2-3 1-1 6 Haug 0-1 0-0 0 Askegaard 1-2 0-0 2 Bowman 0-1 0-0 0 Smith 0-1 0-1 0 Blong 4-4 1-2 11 TOTALS: 20-41 10-16 57

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.

Clark’s Force blog can be found

at slightlychilled.areavoices.com

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