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BOYS BASKETBALL; Bomber boys overcome Cardinals

Barnum senior Zac Carlson scoops in a layup against Cromwell-Wright on Friday night. Carlson led all scorers with 25 points in the Bombers 71-40 win. Dave Harwig/Pine Journal1 / 3
Cromwell-Wright junior Brandon Fairbanks shoots for two of his 14 points against Barnum Friday night. Dave Harwig/Pine Journal2 / 3
Barnum's Dacotah Haley shoots a jumper over Cromwell defenders during Friday night's basketball game.3 / 3

As the quarterback and running back tandem for the Barnum football team this past fall, Brandon Newman was comfortable handing the ball off to good friend Zac Carlson.

Teaming up for basketball now, their connection


Carlson connected on a trio of 3-pointers en route to a game-best 25 points and Newman netted a pair of triples on his way to 21 points as the Bombers blew past Polar League visitor Cromwell-Wright 71-40 last Friday night in Barnum.

While Carlson, a fast 5-foot-9 senior ball-handler, and the junior Newman, a 5-foot-11 scoring wizard, relate well on the court, the pair of guards is even closer outside of the gym.

Newman noted the two hang out regularly at each other’s houses when not at school or playing sports, and Carlson added they eat together at Lou’s Diner in downtown Barnum before almost every game. They even order the same meal.

“Usually the No. 2,” said Carlson of the “hash browns, toast, bacon and eggs” breakfast combo. “We just have good chemistry with each other and work well together.”

Along with the rest of his teammates, Newman said they’ll be dining at Lou’s before Monday evening’s game at Proctor.

“We already got it planned,” said the team’s top scorer.

Planning for the productive backcourt pair is not an easy task, as the one-win Cardinals (1-7) couldn’t contain either player in a game they trailed 38-20 by halftime, only to later lose by 31 points.

Brandon’s father, Rich, coaches each boy in the fall as an assistant football coach, and he is in his 17th season on the basketball sideline. He said Sunday that his single-loss Bombers (5-1) — now up to Section 7AA from 5A due to a statewide classification realignment — are “a little green,” having played just five games. With a still-forming lineup, he knows having his pair of guards is imperative to win.

“We try to use each kid to the best of their talents,” said Newman, whose team has won four straight since losing to Esko Dec. 6. “Definitely the ball has to run through one of those two guys. They need to at least touch it every time.”

Like Barnum, Cromwell-Wright — losers of five in a row after a Dec. 6 win at McGregor — won’t play in a holiday event.

The Cardinals were led last week by Brandon Fairbanks’ 14 points, while Austin Pfisthner had 13. Coach Bill Pocernich, in his 20th year, said a “quality” schedule has pestered a young, injury-prone team, but he remains upbeat.

“We’re 1-7, but we’re playing better,” Pocernich said. “We’ve had a rough stretch; the kids are hanging in there.”