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Staff photo by Patrick MacCoon / Brainerd defenders draw an offensive foul in the first half against Tyner on Friday night.

Tyner boys' basketball coach E'Jay Ward knew before even stepping on the court that his team was ready to go Friday night.

Playing in their jam-packed home arena, the Rams put on a show with a 64-47 victory over rival Brainerd to remain undefeated in District 4-AA to start the season.

"That was one of the most impressive wins this year," Ward said. "I have been riding them, especially Nehemiah Bloodsaw. I stay on them because I care about them and love them and want to get everything I can out of them.

"The things Nehemiah did tonight is what he is capable of doing every time he is out there. I saw the fire in his eyes and our boys at the beginning, and I knew they were ready to rock and roll."

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Brainerd at Tyner boys' basketball on Dec. 10, 2021

Bloodsaw showcased his shooting skill on a tough fadeaway jumper from the left side of the baseline in the third quarter, but he was a solid presence on both ends of the floor. Along with a Keelan Jackson putback slam to open the second quarter, a pair of dunks by Bloodsaw made for an electric crowd.

"I knew coming into this season I need to be a leader," Bloodsaw said. "The key is for us to stay as one. I trust in my brothers and really believe we have something special if we keep working and play to our potential."

Tyner freshman Rodney Henderson, a left-handed sharpshooter, helped the Rams (6-3, 3-0) pull away for good. His shot was pure in the second half as he drained four 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 18 points.

"It was crazy loud, and people were all over the place," Henderson said. "It meant the world to me to get hot in the second half. I have put in a lot of hard work, and it showed tonight."

Anthony Sims was big on the offensive glass in the third quarter for the Rams, who received 15 points from Jackson and 11 from Bloodsaw.

Dennis Lewis Jr. was sharp for Brainerd (4-3, 1-1), scoring a game-high 19 points while making all six of his free throws. Donivon Thomas also was tough in the paint, finishing with 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Panthers.

Contact Patrick MacCoon at pmaccoon@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @PMacCoon.

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