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No playoff break for Nuggets

Pierz holds a higher standing in the state than it does in its section, and for that Hawley is being punished. Sure, the fourth-ranked Nuggets (8-0) got a first-round bye in the football playoffs by virtue of earning the top seed in Class 2A, Sec...

Pierz holds a higher standing in the state than it does in its section, and for that Hawley is being punished.

Sure, the fourth-ranked Nuggets (8-0) got a first-round bye in the football playoffs by virtue of earning the top seed in Class 2A, Section 8, but now they host third-ranked and fourth-seeded Pioneers (7-2) in the semifinals at 2 p.m. Saturday.

"It's kind of raw deal for both of us," Nuggets coach Peder Naatz said. "But you gotta beat the teams that are in your section to move on. And if you're in a tough section, you're going to have a tough road. We have four extremely high-quality programs in our section right now."

Teams earn section points for each victory based on an opponents' enrollment. The top four in Section 8 were separated by 50 points, with Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton (7-2) leapfrogging Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (8-1) and defending champion Pierz by beating two Class 3A schools.

Thus, Hawley, the Valley Plains Conference champions will meet Central Minnesota Conference winner Pierz in the section semis instead of the state semis.

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"That's just the way the point system works," Minnesota State High School League Region 6A secretary Dale Skallerud said. "Who can you lose to this time of year and keep playing?'"

Ashley Samuelson is the 243rd member of the North Tartan AAU basketball program to accept a college scholarship. But, according to school officials, she became the first Underwood athlete to earn an NCAA Division I ride when she verbally committed to Colorado State this week.

"They're all pretty jacked," said the 6-foot Samuelson, a three-guard who also considered North Dakota State and Wisconsin. "It was a really tough decision moving that far from my house and all my family and friends. But it'll be an awesome opportunity for me."

The AP first-team all-state pick averaged 23.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, 4.7 steals and 3.8 assists in leading the Rockets to second place at the Class 1A state tournament. She earned AAU All-American honors this summer, playing for a North Tartan squad that featured 10 future Division I players.

Area cross country section meets are set for today. At the Class 2A, Section 8 meet in Fergus Falls, the Moorhead boys will chase a fourth straight state-meet berth, while Detroit Lakes junior Hanna Grinaker, ranked No. 2, looks to remain undefeated. The Perham boys and girls are after repeat trips to state at the Class 1A, Section 6 meet in Morris, while the return of Jordan Bjorhus from injury will let Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton push for its first team state entry at the Class 1A, Section 8 meet at Hawley. ... Mahnomen senior running back Levi DeVries broke single-game school records for rushing yards (324) and points (38) in Week 8.

Readers can reach Terry Vandrovec at (701) 241-5548 or tvandrovec@forumcomm.com

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