Area Boys Basketball: Rangers roar back to freeze out Eskomos
Crosby-Ironton 58, Esko 55 Key: The Rangers' Evan Edmundson scored nine overtime points Overall: CI 23-2, E 22-3 Next: Crosby-Ironton hosts Aitkin 7:15 p.m. Thursday CROSBY--With a smile as wide as one of the old mining lakes on the Cuyuna Range,...
Crosby-Ironton 58, Esko 55
Key: The Rangers' Evan Edmundson scored nine overtime points
Overall: CI 23-2, E 22-3
Next: Crosby-Ironton hosts Aitkin 7:15 p.m. Thursday
CROSBY-With a smile as wide as one of the old mining lakes on the Cuyuna Range, Evan Edmundson said it felt great.
The senior guard for the Crosby-Ironton Rangers was referring to his game-winning 3-point basket at the buzzer to lift Class 2A's fourth-ranked Rangers to a 58-55 overtime victory over No. 6-ranked Esko Tuesday.
"I passed into the corner because I thought Isaac Burley would have a nice look and he passed it back," Edmundson said. "I knew time was running out so I just put it up. I knew I wouldn't be able to make another pass and luckily it went in. It felt good."
It was three of nine overtime points Edmundson scored to extend C-I's home winning streak to 25 straight. It also erased memory of an embarrassing 42-25 Section 7-2A finals loss last year to Esko, which in that game held C-I to 21-percent shooting and just 4-of-20 from 3-point. On Tuesday, Edmundson was 4-8 from 3-point and finished with a game-high 20 points.
"It's one thing defending them because they're not easy to defend with the big guy inside and they surround him by three or four good shooters," C-I head coach Dave Galovich said. "It's tough to cover everything, but what might be even tougher than that is scoring against them. We said we just had to be aggressive. It's one thing to talk about it, but you have to be aggressive and yet smart in how you attack them."
While Edmundson ended the game, it was C-I's defense that made it a game in the first place. Esko led 32-19 at the half and held leads of 32-14 and 25-12 in the first half thanks to 55 percent shooting, including 6-of-9 from 3-point. Esko's first 15 points came off 3-pointers as Ryan Pantsar drained four straight and Bryce Bottila added two more.
Esko grabbed a 43-25 lead early in the second half, but the Rangers roared back with a 22-4 run. Fifthteen of those points came off of Esko turnovers as the Rangers forced eight second-half turnovers. Noah Gindorff drained two 3-pointers and finished with 14 second-half points and 16 for the game. His first 3 was part of a 10-0 run that cut C-I's deficit to 45-35 with 8:37 remaining.
Pantsar made his only basket of the second half to make it 47-35, but C-I scored the game's final 12 points, including an Edmundson 3 to tie with 1:28 remaining in regulation.
"We switched up defenses when they decided to go into a stall," Edmundson said. "They started turning it over and we made some baskets. We went on a little run and pushed it into overtime."
Esko struck first in overtime on a basket by Isaak Blue who finished with 11 points. Pantser scored 19 and 7-foot-3 junior Adam Trapp finished with 15, but scored just four points combined in the second half and overtime.
"They were being very deliberate and we had to change up a little bit and hopefully get them out of their rhythm a little bit," said Galovich. "I thought we did a pretty fair job of that."
After shooting 29 percent in the first half, C-I improved to 10-of-24 in the second half and 3-4 in the overtime. Jonathan Jacobson, who struggled with his shot all night, sank two free throws in overtime for his only two points, but it handed C-I a three-point edge.
That was before Panster tied it, setting up Edmundson's dream scenario.
"This shows up what we're capable of," Edmundson said. "In the second half, we came out and played the way we needed to play. Not in the first half so much, but we know where we need to be from now on."
C-I's Jack Silgen finished with 12 points, five rebounds and three assists before fouling out and Trey Jacobs scored eight. Gindorff added eight rebounds, three assists and four blocked shots. But it was Edmondson's final 3 that will be the talk of C-I for months to come.
"It was broken down, but when he let go, it looked good," said Galovich. "When I saw him kind of moving back, I think he felt pretty good about it. It was clean. We've seen Evan do that time and time again. He's certainly capable of doing that."
Esko 32 15 8-55
Crosby-Ironton 19 28 11-58
Quinn Fischer 4, Ryan Pantsar 19, Bryce Bottila 6, Isaak Blue 11, Adam Trapp 15. FG 21-40 (53 percent), FT 5-10 (50 percent). 3-point 8-14 (62 percent).
Jack Silgen 12, Evan Edmundson 20, Trey Jacobs 8, Jonathan Jacobson 2, Noah Gindorff 16. FG 20-54 (37 percent), FT 10-13 (77 percent). 3-point 8-20 (40 percent).