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Cards start with a bang, outshoot Bombers

When Barnum and Cromwell-Wright boys basketball teams tipped off Tuesday, the crowd was large and raucous as fans anticipated an intense matchup of two perennial Polar League powers. But the Cardinals rode a quick flurry of points in both halves to gain a 64-58 victory at home.

"I liked how we came out and played fast against them early," said Cards coach Bill Pocernich. "Dylan Nyberg got hot for us and we just kind of took off."

Early in the first half, Cromwell-Wright rode the outside shooting of Nyberg, who hit three 3-pointers to gain a 23-8 lead midway through the quarter.

"I don't know if mentally we weren't ready or what, but they came out playing fast and we struggled with slowing them down," said Barnum coach Rich Newman. "We ended up taking a timeout and switching up to a zone. That helped get us back in the game and we made a big run before halftime."

To be exact, the Bombers went on a 13-0 run to cut the gap to 28-24 at intermission.

"They switched to that zone and we started getting sloppy with the ball and they made a nice run on us," Pocernich said. "They are well-coached and you knew they'd come back, but I like how our kids responded."

A big key in the victory for the Cards was the offensive play of Brady Dahl, who muscled in 10 first-half points and another 14 second-half points for a game-high 24. Dahl hit a mix of inside shots along with five 3-pointers to keep the Bombers at bay.

Both teams featured some strong outside shooting in the first half, but critical for Cromwell-Wright was staying ahead.

"We had that nice run, but we just couldn't get the lead," Newman said. "We were close, but each time we got to the point where we could maybe get the lead, they were able to get a big offensive play."

Second-half action was similar, with the Cards coming out quickly to build a 16-point lead at one point early in the half, at 46-30.

Much like the first half, the Bombers made another run. Carlos Beckstrand helped lead the charge along with Hayden Charboneau, Pierce Korpela and Bryce Ferguson.

By late in the game, the Bombers had cut the lead to 61-57. Then Cardinals freshman Drew Nyberg made four free throws to help stave off the comeback by the Bombers.

"We had a lot of players come up big for us, but I mentioned to our coaches that if he hit those first two free throws, I thought we would win," Pocernich said.

For the game, Cromwell-Wright got 12 points from Dylan Nyberg, 10 from Drew Nyberg and seven for Tanner Collman. Tucker Korpi finished with five, Josh Lindman added four and Lane Gervais scored three.

Carlos Beckstrand led the Bombers with 15 points, while Hayden Charboneau scored 12. Pierce Korpela and Bryce Ferguson each added 11 points and Brock Hurst had three points.

The win improved the Cards record to 2-0, while the loss dropped Barnum's record to 1-1.

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