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Friday's prep girls basketball playoff game: Proctor vs. Mesabi East

PROCTOR (23-6) VS. MESABI EAST (23-6) What: Section 7AA championship When: 7 p.m. Where: Romano Gym Outlook: Both teams are vying for their third trip to the state tournament, with Proctor last going in 2001 and Mesabi East in 1998, so it's been ...

PROCTOR (23-6) VS. MESABI EAST (23-6)

What: Section 7AA championship

When: 7 p.m.

Where: Romano Gym

Outlook: Both teams are vying for their third trip to the state tournament, with Proctor last going in 2001 and Mesabi East in 1998, so it's been awhile. Neither team was ranked in the final regular-season state poll. These clubs met Jan. 19 in Proctor, with the Rails prevailing 66-54. Proctor has won seven straight and 15 of its past 16, while Mesabi East has won three straight. ... Top-seeded Proctor advanced with a 62-43 victory over Pequot Lakes on Wednesday as Eve Turner scored 22 points, while Sam Parendo added 12 points and Sam Pogatchnik chipped in 11. Leading 26-21 at the half, Proctor pulled away by outscoring the Patriots 36-22 the rest of the way. Parendo, a sophomore guard, leads the team with 17 points and four assists per game. The scariest aspect with the Rails is their youth, with no seniors on the roster. ... Third-seeded Mesabi East rallied for a 65-55 victory over Esko on Wednesday as sophomore guard Ava Hill scored 26 points and freshman guard Hannah Hannuksela added 18. The Giants hit ten 3-pointers. Hill is one of the Northland's top athletes, having won the Class A 800 meters at last June's state track meet as a freshman. She leads the Giants with about 22 points and 3.5 steals per game while shooting 37 percent from beyond the arc. Youth will be served today at Romano in that Mesabi East is much like Proctor, with only two seniors on the the Giants' roster.

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Twitter: @TacoJon1

Related Topics: PROCTOR
Jon Nowacki joined the News Tribune in August 1998 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Stephen, Minnesota, in the northwest corner of the state, where he was actively involved in school and sports and was a proud member of the Tigers’ 1992 state championship nine-man football team.

After graduating in 1993, Nowacki majored in print journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, serving as editor of the college paper, “The Aquin,” and graduating with honors in December 1997. He worked with the Associated Press during the “tobacco trial” of 1998, leading to the industry’s historic $206 billion settlement, before moving to Duluth.

Nowacki started as a prep reporter for the News Tribune before moving onto the college ranks, with an emphasis on Minnesota Duluth football, including coverage of the Bulldogs’ NCAA Division II championships in 2008 and 2010.

Nowacki continues to focus on college sports while filling in as a backup on preps, especially at tournament time. He covers the Duluth Huskies baseball team and auto racing in the summer. When time allows, he also writes an offbeat and lighthearted food column entitled “The Taco Stand,” a reference to the “Taco Jon” nickname given to him by his older brother when he was a teenager that stuck with him through college. He has a teenage daughter, Emma.

Nowacki can be reached at jnowacki@duluthnews.com or (218) 380-7027. Follow him on Twitter @TacoJon1.
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