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Mainville moves Barnum past Rebels

Rebel Adri Jusczak and Bomber Daron Mainville battle under the net during the second half of a close game Tuesday night in Willow River. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal1 / 5
Rebel Adri Jusczak and Bomber Daron Mainville battle under the net during the second half of a close game Tuesday night in Willow River. Jamie Lund/Pine Journal2 / 5
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Preparing for basketball games, Daron Mainville makes sure she listens to music, noting hip-hop pumps her up most.

Pumping in more baskets than anyone Tuesday night in Willow River, Mainville marked a game-high 27 points as the veteran Barnum center helped the Bombers hop past Polar League rival Moose Lake-Willow River 52-51 on the road.

With a dominant right-handed shot, and even a better drop step toward her left, the 1,000-plus-point Mainville has made herself one of the area’s premier post players in her fifth year of varsity. Admitting she’s 6-foot-1 “without basketball shoes,” Mainville said her shot wasn’t as soft as she wanted Tuesday, but it was effective for all 36 minutes on the Rebels.

“That’s where we start,” said second-year Barnum Coach Katie Moench. “We know she outsizes most of her opponents and finishes better than many, I think. She’s a good player.”

Playing her favorite sport in Moose Lake through fifth grade before moving five miles north as a sixth-grader, Mainville said the twice-a-year matchup means a lot to all.

“They are ones we always have to be ready for,” Mainville said of ML-WR, which previously fell 48-35 at Barnum on Dec. 12 in addition to Tuesday’s single-point defeat.

Defeat is something the Bombers (13-6) and Rebels (14-5) haven’t had to endure much of this season, as both teams are now in Section 7AA and viable late-round contenders.

Tuesday, Barnum trailed in the early moments, yet held a 32-23 halftime advantage and controlled most of the contest despite Rebel Hayley Johnson’s bank-shot 3-pointer that made the one-point final score in the game’s waning seconds.

ML-WR, which trailed by as many as 22 points midway through the second according to Coach Joe Adamczak, had a chance to win when Ava Szczyrbak’s shot missed at the horn.

“We came back, we just ran out of time,” said Rebels junior Adri Jusczak, a recent 1,000-point left-hander who had a team-best 17 points, followed by Kayla Radel’s 10 points in the loss.

“It’s a hard loss,” said Adamczak, who remained positive afterward. “I’m proud of the girls. They just kept playing and had a chance at the end — we just came up a little short.”

Good friends with Adamczak, Moech mentioned neither team needs any firing-up to face each other, particularly if the pair of schools meet in March for an uncommon third time.

“It’s hard to beat a team three times in one season,” said an optimistic Jusczak. “Hopefully it’s a different outcome.”

That could be a big hope that evening, especially if Mainville has her headphones tuned to her normal hip-hop.

“I get pumped,” she said. “I like everything but opera.”


Carlton (4-14) carded a victory over visiting Lakeview Christian Academy on Tuesday. The 74-61 win was the Bulldogs’ fourth of the winter and it snapped a previous three-game slide.

Cloquet (12-7) couldn’t keep up with Tartan Tuesday in Oakdale. The 66-34 loss was the Lumberjacks’ second straight, adding to last Friday’s defeat to Class A’s No. 7 North Woods.

Cromwell-Wright (10-7) was upset at Polar League host Cook County 58-56 Tuesday in Grand Marais, as the Cardinals broke previous back-to-back wins in the Vikings’ biggest win yet.

Esko (15-4) endured another defeat Monday in Grand Rapids. The 63-54 setback was Esko’s third loss in four tries during a grueling schedule stretch of large-school opponents.

Fond du Lac Ojibwe (7-2) obliterated host Learning for Leadership 97-16 last Friday, marking the Ogichidaa’s third win in a row, outscoring opponents by 194 points in that time.

South Ridge (11-8) ran into a 61-47 defeat to Northeast Range Tuesday in Culver, as the Panthers’ previous three-game winning spurt — all within the last week — was ended.

Wrenshall (1-17) was beaten by visiting Duluth Marshall 56-32 Monday. The one-win Wrens have now lost 12 straight following their lone victory over Lakeview Christian Academy.

FDLTCC (5-14) found back-to-back setbacks to Minnesota College Athletic Conference nemesis Vermilion 88-71 last Wednesday in Ely, as well as at Mesabi Range 75-57 Saturday in Virginia. The Thunder women, current four-game losers, play on campus both Friday and Saturday.