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Boys basketball: Barnum blasts South Ridge

Barnum coach Rick Newman talks to his team during a timeout during a 65-42 home win over South Ridge on Friday, Dec. 21. (Jamey Malcomb/Pine Journal)

Barnum senior guard Tyler Nynas scored 30 points in the Bombers' 65-42 home win over South Ridge on Friday, Dec. 21.

While Nynas' scoring was big for Barnum, his defensive play was arguably just as important in the win.

Early in the first half, Barnum jumped out to 12-4 lead, but the Panthers closed the gap to two points on consecutive jumpers by Kayden Palmi, Jayton Nelson and Joey Janke. The 6-foot-6 Palmi, in particular, helped keep South Ridge within striking distance with 10 first-half points.

Barnum responded with an 10-4 run of its own and extend the lead back to eight, but the Panthers were looking to put together a few buckets after a pair of Bomber misses.

Instead of getting closer, however, Nynas stole the ball on consecutive South Ridge possessions and helped Barnum extend the lead to 33-23 at halftime.

In the second half, the Bombers did a better job of holding Palmi in check and put together a 10-0 run midway through the half to extend their lead to 19 and cruised to the win.

Barnum coach Rich Newman was pleased with his team's performance, particularly with how they played over the first few weeks of the season.

"I thought we passed the ball better than we have in a long time and our defense stepped up a little bit, even though they shot the ball very well against us," Newman said. "We did some things well that we haven't been able to do in the last four or five games."

Barnum (2-5) still has some work to do as it hits the meat of its schedule following the holiday break, according to Newman, and starts to turn its attention to Section 7AA tournament in a couple months.

"We played better than we have in a while and we were able to score," he said. "That's been our Achilles' heel. We play pretty good defense and then down at the end, we can't hit shots and we lost by 10 points. We took a little step today, but we have a long way to go yet."

South Ridge coach Joaquim Harris said despite the loss, his team is still improving, and he was particularly happy with the defensive performance. The Panthers have been giving up 75 points or more per game, but keeping that number below 70 was a step in the right direction, he said.

"This team is still trying to figure out how to play defense together," he said. "We want to get better every game and we've been getting better."

South Ridge (1-6) is scheduled to play Avail Academy on Thursday, Dec. 27, in Fridley.

Barnum is scheduled to host Virginia at 7:15 p.m. Friday, Dec. 28.

Jamey Malcomb

Jamey Malcomb has been a reporter for the Pine Journal since October 2018. He previously worked as a reporter for the Lake County News-Chronicle from 2015-2018. Malcomb is a native of North Carolina and holds a bachelor's degree in English and history from the George Washington University and a master's degree in education from George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. Malcomb moved to Minnesota in July 2012 and worked as a sports clerk and news assistant at the Duluth News Tribune. 

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