BOYS BASKETBALL ROUNDUP: Bombers beat Carlton, continue perfect mark

Barnum Coach Rich Newman watched as his son, Brandon, slam dunk the basketball multiple times on his way to a game-high 28 points in Barnum's 94-48 Polar League victory at Carlton last week, but quickly dismissed jamming as a point of emphasis.

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Barnum’s Dacotah Haley shoots over Carlton defenders Eric Soderstrom (22) and Cade Pierson (3) for two points during Friday night’s matchup between the Bombers and the Bulldogs. Haley scored 14 points in the game. Dan Saletel/Pine Journal

Barnum Coach Rich Newman watched as his son, Brandon, slam dunk the basketball multiple times on his way to a game-high 28 points in Barnum’s 94-48 Polar League victory at Carlton last week, but quickly dismissed jamming as a point of emphasis.

“They feed off it a little bit,” Coach Newman explained earlier this week, “but they feed off of each other even more.”

That’s best displayed by the “Team First, Me Second” bracelets Newman’s club has. Created several years ago, the piece of maroon rubber around their wrists is a good reminder of why Barnum (20-0) - ranked second in Class AA and one of just two remaining unbeaten teams statewide - is so good.

“They’ve been playing together for a long time,” Newman said of his team that is so balanced with talent, yet unselfish in sharing their roles. “They’ve grown up together playing multiple sports. They get along and work hard. They want each guy to make the other one better. They like to compete.”

That was evident last Friday when the Bombers blew by the Bulldogs (6-13) in running time, taking a 57-25 halftime lead and never looking back in their 46-point win.


Along with Newman’s game-high tally, Barnum senior Dacotah Haley had 14 points, as did juniors Hunter Fetters and Chris Carlson to lead a Bombers’ box score that included nine players scoring.

The young Carlton team has lost eight of its previous 10 games. Sophomore Tyler Ojibway put in 14 points and senior Adam Ermatinger scored 10 last week, but it wasn’t enough.

“They’ve got it all,” Carlton Coach Ken Fox said of Barnum. “They are definitely one of the better teams we have seen.”

That Bombers team, careless of their dizzying numbers, won 80-47 at Aitkin Tuesday and hasn’t lost yet in the 73 days since their season began. They’ve been to their respective section final three years running, losing to Class AA champion Esko last season, and now aim to rebound this winter and make it to their school’s first state appearance since 2007.

“It’s been a while,” said senior Nate Jelinek. “To get down there and make an impact would be so ideal. But anyone can lose. There’s a lot of basketball left to play still.”

“We just go game by game,” added senior Andrew Naslund. “Every team is going to be coming out hard to play us. We just have to be able to match that energy.”

With Newman’s dunks, that shouldn’t be a problem, but the bracelet-wearing team’s coach chuckled when asked if a perfect season and state title could be duplicated like in 1983.

“I guess we’ve never even thought of that,” Rich said. “It’ll be a monster chore for us just to get out of this section.”



Cloquet (12-8) came up short on the road Tuesday when a Grand Rapids tip-in with 1.7 seconds left lifted the Thunderhawks past Cloquet 69-68 in a heartbreaking defeat.

Cromwell-Wright (9-9) whipped visiting Duluth Marshall 64-46 Tuesday as the Cards reached the .500 mark.

Esko (14-6) endured a 54-51 loss at Hermantown Tuesday, as the Eskomos saw their once-large lead slip late.

Fond du Lac Ojibwe (10-11) obliterated Minneapolis Edison 80-48 Saturday on the road for their third straight win.

Moose Lake-Willow River (11-9) ripped past Polar League visiting McGregor 60-44 last Friday in Willow River.

South Ridge (1-15) ran into defeat for a 12th consecutive time, as the Panthers lost to Polar League host Silver Bay 71-57 last Friday. South Ridge hasn’t won a game since Dec. 9.

Wrenshall (15-5) won its fourth game in a row when they pounded Polar League Cook County 70-51 Tuesday at home.


FDLTCC (4-14) found a much-needed 75-70 victory at Hibbing last Saturday, stopping their eight-game losing slide.

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Carlton senior Dominic Bennett looks to pass while covered by Hunter Fetters of Barnum during Friday night’s matchup between the Bulldogs and the Bombers. Dan Saletel/Pine Journal

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