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Chris Murphy, Published December 28 2012

Lawrence's double-double paces Spuds against No. 1 Pelican Rapids

MOORHEAD – Moorhead junior center Brett Lawrence hasn’t quite cut off all the bleached blonde hair from football season.

And the Spuds’ student section reminds him of that often, chanting, “Blonde hair, don’t care,” anytime Lawrence makes a big play.

Whatever it is that Lawrence and his blond hair don’t care about, it’s certainly not evident on the basketball court, as the 6-foot-6 big man scored 12 points and hauled in 11 rebounds to help lead the Spuds to a 73-53 win over the top-ranked team in Class 2A in Pelican Rapids on Thursday at the Moorhead Holiday Tournament.

Neither team rankings nor his hair are things Lawrence cares about.

“The rankings don’t really change how we play a team,” Lawrence said. “We practiced hard, and it’s fun to see it pay off tonight. We did the hair for football, and I just haven’t gotten it cut all the way yet. I kind of want to get rid of it, but it’s not something I care about.”

Lawrence was one of four Moorhead (5-2) players to score in double digits, as Aaron Lien netted 26 points, Austin Nelson scored 15, and Cody Dorow added 13 to go along with Lawrence.

“When you got a player like Aaron Lien, who draws a bunch of attention, it really opens the court for everyone else,” Nelson said. “It’s a stepping stone for us. This shows that we can all score and that really helps the team trust. We feel more confident in each other after a game like this.”

The first half was a battle between Lien and Pelican Rapids guard Ryan Bruggeman, as Lien had 14 of Moorhead’s 31 points in the first half and Bruggeman had 13 of the Vikings’ 23 points. In the second half, the Spuds found other options, whereas the Vikings (6-2) could barely find the net. Dorow scored eight points, Lawrence scored six points and Nelson netted 11 points in the second frame.

“We came into the season knowing we could all score, and there’s been games where we haven’t done that,” Lawrence said. “Tonight, we all came out and had a hot hand and played good together.”

Of course, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a player like Lien, as the senior scored 10 of the Spuds’ first 15 points in the second half to open up a 46-32 Spuds lead before Lawrence, Nelson and Dorow shut the door.

“We’re growing as a team,” Moorhead coach Corey Zimmerman said. “We’ve been trying to work through guys not being afraid to shoot. We’re taking a step forward. Guys were hitting their shots and in the right spot.”

As for Pelican Rapids, the Vikings feel perhaps the No. 1 ranking was a tad premature.

“Ranked No. 1 in Class 2A is probably not where we are,” Pelican Rapids coach Doug Bruggeman said. “I’d like to think we’re a top-20 team and can compete in our section. We’ve been honest with the boys and told them that the people who are doing these rankings come from the (Twin) Cities and go based a lot on reputation. We told them it’s a nice pat on the back for the program, but we want to earn everything we’re given, and we really haven’t earned a lot yet this year.”

M (5-2): Dobbins 1 0-0 3, Lien 11 3-5 26, Dorow 5 2-2 13, Lawrence 6 0-0 12, Nelson 6 1-1 15, Weismann 0 2-4 2, Doeden 1 0-0 2.

P (6-2): Schell 4 0-0 9, Bruggeman 8 6-10 24, Hensch 0 3-5 3, Haugen 2 1-2 5, Forsgren 4 0-0 8, Coleman 1 0-0 2, Sillerud 1 0-0 2.

Half: M 31, P 23. 3-point goals: Bruggeman 2, Lien 1, Dorow 1, Dobbins 1, Nelson 2. Total fouls: M 13, P 8. Rebounds: M 29 (Lawrence 11, Lien 6), P 20 (Schell 8, Bruggeman 6, Haugen 5). Turnovers: M 9, P 11.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548