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Moorhead extends solid start with win over Fergus

MOORHEAD - As a teenager just trying to get playing time, Corey Zimmerman learned opportunities can be achieved from hard work. Zimmerman said the philosophy is how he was fortunate enough to play basketball at Moorhead and later in college at Mi...

MOORHEAD - As a teenager just trying to get playing time, Corey Zimmerman learned opportunities can be achieved from hard work.

Zimmerman said the philosophy is how he was fortunate enough to play basketball at Moorhead and later in college at Minnesota State Moorhead, where he played for three seasons.

He's now in his third year with the Moorhead boys basketball team, and those lessons paid off Tuesday when his team grabbed a 66-55 win over Fergus Falls, continuing what has been one of the best starts in program history.

"He's been super important," said Spuds senior point guard Matt Ellingson. "Every day we come to practice and he has scouting reports and they are on the money. We know where their guys are going to be and it's fun because sometimes we can tell players where their own guy needs to be."

Ellingson said when it came to the Otters (5-9), the game plan involved making sure they didn't get many

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3-point shots.

Fergus Falls had eight of them, but it wasn't enough to make a late rally.

Early in the second half, however, it appeared the Spuds (10-1) weren't going to have it easy. They had a 28-22 halftime lead and the Otters tied it at 28-28 before Zimmerman called a timeout.

"If we're not playing well for showing effort," said junior swingman Aaron Lien. "He'll get into us out there."

Zimmerman got into his team, and the players got into the game, going on a

13-0 run and ultimately winning the game by 11.

That's Zimmerman's way of operating. He's passionate about what he does. His emotions are pretty visible, and his voice can certainly carry.

He may appear to be this 6-5, mild-mannered guy but he's the complete opposite. He fist pumps, he yells when his team is doing good and/or bad. He'll speak his mind to a ref.

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"I think a lot of it comes from the guy who had this job before me in C.R. Gulsvig," Zimmerman said. "Players respond well when they see their coach is passionate about what he does."

Lien agreed.

Lien said he knew about Zimmerman's approach from his older brothers who played at Moorhead under Zimmerman, when he was an assistant.

But Zimmerman's more than just talk and scouting reports, he's about teaching.

For example, take Lien. The 6-4 Lien showed last year he could have those moments where he could impact a game.

This season, it feels like every time he gets the ball he has a moment to impact a game.

"He's worked with me so much on things like my technique," Lien said. "My shot, playing defense, my rebounding, just everything."

It showed. Lien, to no surprise, scored a game-high 27 points and went 12-for-14 in the process. Though he did it on both ends leading Moorhead with eight rebounds while picking up six assists and a game-high four blocks.

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Some of it is just natural talent, but Lien has no problem admitting Zimmerman has helped him reach this point in his career.

"He always says he misses playing," Lien said. "And he gets that feeling in his stomach and it makes me just want to keep playing."

MOORHEAD: Ellingson 4-7 2-3 10 Lien 12-14 3-3 27 Nelson 5-14 3-4 14 Anderson 1-3 2-3 4 Bosche 2-3 0-0 4 Bye 1-2 1-1 3 Roesler 2-2 0-0 4 Totals: 27-45 11-14 66

FERGUS FALLS: Millard 7-13 3-6 18 McAllister 3-8 0-0 12 Rund 3-12 0-0 8 Rengel 5-16 0-0 13 Johnson 1-1 2-2 4 Kuidt 0-2 0-0 0 Anderson 0-1 0-0 0 Suek 0-0 0-0 0 Reinertson 0-0 0-0 0 Totals: 19-53 5-8 55

Half: M 28, FF 22. 3-pointers: M, Nelson 1. FF, McAllister 4, Rengel 3, Rund 2.

Assists: M, Ellingson 7, Lien 6. FF, Rengel 6. Rebounds: M, Lien 6, Bosche 6. FF, Johnson 4, Millard 4.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.

Clark's Force blog can be found

at slightlychilled.areavoices.com

Related Topics: BASKETBALL
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