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Chris Murphy, Published February 11 2014

Moorhead boys bball gets to .500 with win over Bemidji

MOORHEAD – Moorhead senior guard Andrew Ellingson did not show up in the box score in the Spuds’ 83-68 boys basketball win over Bemidji on Tuesday. Ellingson rarely does have his name anywhere in the stat sheet.

No stat mattered to Ellingson in his final regular-season home game at Moorhead. No zero matters to Ellingson except the one on his Moorhead varsity jersey.

“I’ve grown up watching them play, since I was really young,” Ellingson said. “My brother played here and it means a lot I finally got the chance to put on the varsity jersey and be a Spud. This season has been a lifelong dream for me.”

It was Ellingson’s defense that junior guard Cody Dorow talked about after Tuesday’s game, rather than his own game-high 24 points. Moorhead coach Corey Zimmerman had a simple reason for making the first-year varsity player a captain this season.

“He’s the man,” Zimmerman said.

The four seniors made Tuesday night count, as Brett Lawrence hauled in 17 rebounds, Tyler Stich added six points off the bench and Tyler Eidsness scored all nine of his points in the second half.

“It’s really emotional,” Eidsness said of possibly playing his last game at Moorhead. “It’s fun to see us play at our best the last time on that court. This was a good way to go out, especially against Bemidji.”

The night may have belonged to the Moorhead (10-10) seniors, but the game belonged to the sophomores and juniors. Outside of Dorow’s 24 points, sophomore Matt Bye added 19 points and junior Shane Steckler netted 15 for the Spuds.

“It’s rough to see the seniors go, but all of them stepped up,” Dorow said. “Next year we have four starters returning. It’s going to be good.”

It was hard not to see the future of Moorhead basketball Tuesday, but the present has the Spuds record at .500 for the first time all season and winners of five straight.

“They are starting to turn the corner,” Zimmerman said. “Cody (Dorow) has been consistent all year long. It’s good to see Matt (Bye) get rolling. As the game went on, he got better and as a coach, that’s a big plus when you consider these guys are coming back.”

When Moorhead faced Bemidji on Feb. 1, the Spuds needed 49 points from Dorow to squeak out a nine-point win. Tuesday, Dorow scored less than half that and after his 3-pointer gave the Spuds a 5-3 lead, they never trailed the rest of the game.

“We didn’t start off very hot,” Zimmerman said of the team’s 1-4 start. “They’ve been able to maintain and last and kind of turn this end of the season into a nice, little run for us. These guys worked hard and are starting to realize the fruits of their labor.”

Bemidji (2-19) tied the game at 13-13 before the Spuds went on a 16-5 run and took a 31-20 lead into halftime. The Spuds pushed their lead to as many as 22 in the second half, never allowing the Lumberjacks within single digits.

“We got a nice little streak going and we’re starting to figure things out a little bit,” Zimmerman said. “I was hoping we’d get that going sooner, but sometimes your chemistry comes on quick and sometimes it doesn’t.”

B (2-19): Hendricks 7 0-0 20, Rutledge 3 1-2 7, Strong 5 2-2 16, Cervenka 1 0-0 3, Salander 4 2-4 10, Anderson 0 2-2 2, Faulkenberry 4 0-0 8, Rose 1 0-0 3. Totals 25 7-10 68.

M (10-10): Bye 8 3-4 19, Dorow 10 2-4 24, Lawrence 1 0-2 2, Steckler 5 4-4 15, Wiesmann 2 2-2 6, Tonsfeldt 1 0-3 2, Stich 3 0-1 6, Eidsness 4 0-0 9. Totals 34 11-20 83.

Halftime: M 31, B 20. 3-pointers: Hendricks 6, Strong 4, Cervenka 1, Rose 1, Dorow 2, Steckler 1, Eidsness 1. Total fouls: M 12, B 12. Rebounds: M 36 (Lawrence 17), B 25 (Salander 11).

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Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548