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Howie: Prep Sports Notebook, Wednesday

Hermantown boys basketball coach Andy Fenske. Howie /

The last four games have been a whirlwind of an experience for two-time defending Section 7AAA boys basketball champion Hermantown, coach Andy Fenske said Wednesday. The powerful Hawks have quietly stitched together a seven-game winning streak, including an 88-81 road victory at nonconference Bemidji on Tuesday night as senior power forward Abe Soumis exploded for 55 points to set a new school single-game scoring mark.  

"It started with us pulling out a huge win over Duluth East (93-75) at home, because beating a AAAA school is always a perk for our rankings," said Fenske, a midseason favorite for 2024 Coach of the Year. "Then we went to Cloquet (a 106-79 Hawks' victory) for a section/conference match-up and in that game, we were able to dictate tempo the entire game. We were able to do so without a starter which is always a tougher challenge no matter who you play. It throws off the rotations and roles of the guys for the night, but the boys stepped up when called upon. 

"We followed it up with game three of the week by playing Hibbing (a 90-73 Hermantown win) on LSC Day, which is always a tough situation. Neither team was at home, the whole day seemed to throw teams off, but our boys rallied around each other and made a deep run late to push a close game up to the 20-point mark to seal the victory."

Hermantown improved to 11-5 with the workmanlike win at Bemidji.

"They're a team that no matter what their record is, they have you scouted every time and they're going to get after you," said Fenske of the Lumberjacks.

The Hawks will visit Duluth Denfeld (8-6) on Tuesday. The Hunters won the first meeting between the traditional Lake Superior Conference powers on December 5, 83-77 in Hermantown.

"Denfeld is a huge game for us in terms of looking at seeding purposes," said Fenske. "I think our boys are in a good head space, and we have time to get some guys rested and healed as we gear up for the home stretch of games before playoffs begin."

Boys Basketball Notebook – Soumis (1,434 career points) is closing in on the school's all-time scoring mark of 1,697 held by Kole Zuidmulder ... Cloquet junior guard Jack Battaglia has exploded up the prestigious Top-5 Players to Watch list, to No. 3, as follows: 1. Isaac Asuma (sr. guard Cherry), 2. Koi Perich (sr. guard Esko), 3. Jack Battaglia (jr. guard Cloquet), 4. Calvin Anderson (so. power forward Superior), 5. Isaiah Kastern (sr. power forward Solon Springs)


Boys Basketball

Hermantown 88, Bemidji 81

Rock Ridge 90, Cloquet 62

Esko 76, Duluth Denfeld 71

Duluth East 66, Grand Rapids 60

Two Harbors 61, Proctor 50

Mesabi East 84, Nashwauk-Keewatin 66

Warroad 103, International Falls 45

Boys Hockey

Hermantown 8, Hibbing-Chisholm 1. Junior forward River Freeman scored three goals for the Hawks, who rebounded strongly following a disappointing 4-1 home loss Saturday against Warroad.

Grand Rapids 3, Cloquet-Esko-Carlton 2 OT

Chippewa Falls 5, Superior 2

Duluth Marshall 9, Greenway 2

Moose Lake Area 5, Spooner 3

Rock Ridge 10, North Shore 0

Ely 4, International Falls 3

Duluth East 2, Duluth Denfeld 1 OT