Girls Basketball Roundup...News about Barnum, Cloquet and other area teamsCofield, Cloquet cruise by Barnum
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
BARNUM – As the silky shooter she’s become, Jaiden Cofield has always been told by coaches to have a short memory.
But even the Cloquet junior couldn’t help but think of her former Barnum playing days when she and the Lumberjacks walked into the gymnasium to face the Bombers Monday night.
Cofield, a versatile 5-foot-8 forward, grew up learning basketball in Cloquet until sixth grade, before moving to Barnum for three seasons. Last year she was in Ely, but has since returned to the Lumberjacks. Monday, she was ready to re-greet the Bombers.
“I definitely wanted that one,” said Cofield, who scored a game-leading 25 points in carrying Cloquet to a 53-34 victory at Barnum. “I didn’t play much when I used to be [in Barnum], so I guess it was a good chance for me to show how far I have come.”
Cofield came to life in the second half Monday, facilitating opportunities on strong drives, shots behind the arc and, mostly, in transition off defensive stops. Cofield keyed runs of 19-4 and 10-0 in the second, as the Lumberjacks (7-6) pulled away from a 19-19 halftime tie never to trail in their sixth win in the last eight games.
“She was doing it all – we need her to do that for us,” said fifth-year Cloquet Coach Jeff Ojanen. “She’s our one pure-scorer, a game-changer. She shot well, but played hard defensively, too.”
Ojanen noted their second half on Monday was their best yet.
“We scored 34 points – there are games where we don’t score 34 points at all,” he said. “As for a half, that was the most complete we’ve been on both sides. We just have to keep getting better every day. If we do, we’ll have as good a shot as anyone come March.”
As the defense keyed the Lumberjacks, the Bombers (6-8) got worn down. Not nearly as deep as Cloquet’s eight seniors and multiple upperclassmen, Barnum is young and inexperienced. Monday, the Bombers scored the game’s first eight points, before foul trouble hurt creating a quick fade after the half.
“Cloquet has so many threats, I like how they play,” said first-year Barnum Coach Katie Moench, who took over for longtime coach Randy Myhre and his 626 career victories. “But we were going up and down constantly. We’re not deep and we got a little tired.”
“We came out really strong, but the second half we didn’t come out,” said Barnum junior Daron Mainville, who scored a team-best 15 points. “We’re still a brand new team trying to put it together. We’re not giving up – we’re still going to push to get better.”
Barnum blitzed visiting South Ridge 72-42 Tuesday night in the Polar League school’s highest scoring output yet this season.
“We get beat up a lot, so it was encouraging for us, especially scoring so many points,” said Moench. “It’s frustrating to lose, but we pick up something new to work on every game. I wouldn’t trade these girls for anybody else. They go out and work their butts off.”
Much like Cofield, no matter for whom or where she’s playing.
“Jaiden is one of those players that picks up a team,” said Cloquet senior Kenzie Rathe, who had 13 points Monday. “She’s a fantastic asset for us. When she’s on, it makes everyone else better.”
Carlton (5-5) cruised past visiting Fond du Lac Ojibwe 95-15 Monday evening. The Bulldogs, winners of three straight, also barely bested Polar League nemesis Barnum on the road last week.
Cromwell-Wright (7-5) was hot until falling to Polar League foes Cook County last week and McGregor 63-55 Monday at home.
Esko (11-1) eased by powerful Pequot Lakes Saturday on the road before burying visiting Virginia 72-12 Monday night at home. The Eskomos, ranked fourth in Class AA, have won 11 in a row.
Fond du Lac Ojibwe (2-6) was no match Monday in a 95-15 loss at Carlton, yet defeated host Learning for Leadership last week. The young Ogichidaa’s other win came over Lac Courte Oreilles.
Moose Lake-Willow River (8-3) rattled off its fourth win in five tries, romping past Polar League visitor Silver Bay 67-38 last week.
South Ridge (4-7) remained on the short end, falling at Barnum 72-42 Tuesday night for their third consecutive loss within a week.
Wrenshall (1-9) was drubbed by North Woods 81-26 Tuesday at home. The Wrens’ lone win this winter was against Duluth Marshall.
FDLTCC (0-10) finished winter break and will next travel up to Mesabi Range Friday for their first action in a month. The winless Thunder’s only program win was forfeited in December.