Boys Basketball Roundup...News about Cloquet and other area teamsState’s highest scorer brings crowd to its feet
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
CLOQUET – With a minute left in the tensest game of his young basketball playing career, Nate Weets was as focused as anyone on playing a tough game. Still, the Cloquet sophomore stood and clapped when Lakeview Christian Academy’s Anders Broman fouled out.
He was joined by several hundred others in the stands.
Broman’s game-best 46 points stood above all scorers in the Lions’ 90-86 loss to the host Lumberjacks last Thursday, but perhaps the most memorable moment came when the state’s all-time career scoring leader fouled out with 1:02 remaining and brought many of the estimated 900 fans to their feet in applause.
“I clapped a little,” admitted Weets, “but I felt bad. A guy like him deserves to be out there and finish that type of game. He’s the best player I’ve ever gotten to play with. I’ve never seen anyone score the ball that much and make it look so easy.”
Broman, a 6-foot-2 senior guard, was easily the biggest attraction last week. Headed to South Dakota State University next year, the Division I recruit is the only player in state history with more than 4,500 career points, creating a must-see environment.
“We were walking into the locker room for pregame with a few minutes left and the ticket line was still extended through the lobby, near the bathrooms, waiting to get in,” Cloquet Coach Steve Battaglia said. “That bad boy was packed to the rafters. I was told it was best game people watched in many, many years.”
The Lumberjacks (10-8) scored 14 of the game’s opening 20 points and held a 46-36 advantage by halftime at a faster-than-normal game pace. Still, the Lions leapt on a 21-6 spurt to begin the second ¬– all scored by Anders Broman and his younger brother, Bjorn – for a 57-52 lead and a much-needed Battaglia timeout.
Cloquet countered with six straight points, but didn’t secure the win until up 88-86, and junior center Adam Laine got a loose ball rebound – his game-high 14th – and scored the last two of his 33 points on the night.
“I was actually drawing up our final play during that rebound,” Lions Coach Bob Newstrom said afterward. “I can’t fault our guys’ effort tonight, but we just didn’t seal the deal.”
Cloquet’s Aaron Johnson jumped for several dunks and 21 points, Dillon Johnson added 15 and Weets had 10 assists. Bjorn Broman scored 24 points, combining for a total of 70 with his older brother.
“Me, my dad and Bjorn play every day,” Anders said after the game. “Tonight, we had our runs, but give [Cloquet] all of the credit.”
Laine rather admired Broman, much like everyone else.
“He hit some pretty incredible shots,” Laine said. “He’s the state’s best scorer. It’s once-in-a-lifetime to play a guy like that.”
Newstrom and fellow coaches praised the audience as well as the Cloquet team.
“I wanted to pay tribute to the fans at Cloquet,” said Lakeview assistant coach Dennis Leschishin the day after the game. “I was very impressed it was a very full house for a game of that nature. And the fact that when our player, Anders Broman, fouled out, it was quite a tribute to see all the fans stood up and gave him a standing ovation. I wanted to make sure it’s known that you do have quite a crowd. It’s rewarding to see such that.”
“Crowds like here tonight make high school basketball,” Newstrom said.
Barnum (17-2) blitzed visiting Polar League rival Carlton 60-43 Tuesday, as the Bombers won their fifth contest in a row.
Carlton (7-10), in addition to Tuesday’s loss to Barnum, fell 72-25 to Moose Lake-Willow River last Friday.
Cromwell-Wright (6-9) continued on the short end, as the hurting Cardinals fell 68-57 Tuesday to Northland-Remer at home.
Esko (16-3) eased by Floodwood 77-54 Tuesday in a game for lone Polar League supremacy. The Eskomos have now won six straight affairs, remaining unbeaten and atop the conference.
Fond du Lac Ojibwe (11-6) obliterated host Silver Bay 87-46 Monday, as the Ogichidaa have won five consecutive games.
Moose Lake-Willow River (13-6) rivaled host Cloquet Tuesday, but fell 53-44, snapping back-to-back Rebels’ victories.
South Ridge (10-6) remained hot by handing Proctor a 75-63 loss in Culver Saturday for the Panthers’ third straight win.
Wrenshall (6-9) won Monday, slipping past host Cherry 71-62, snapping their previous three-game losing slide.
FDLTCC (5-16) cradled recent back-to-back home wins, but lost 60-50 to Mesabi Range Saturday in Cloquet.