Boys Basketball: Rangers take advantage of cold shooting night for Deer River

The Crosby-Ironton Rangers hosted Deer River in the opening round of the Crosby-Ironton Holiday Tournament.

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Crosby-Ironton Ranger Jordan Mount shoots the ball Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022, against Deer River during the C-I Holiday Tournament at Dave Galovich gym.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

CROSBY — Even with the implementation of a 35-second shot clock, patience was the key Tuesday, Dec. 27.

Class 1A’s fifth-ranked Deer River Warriors came into the opening round of the Crosby-Ironton Holiday Tournament on fire after knocking off top-ranked Cherry by six points to open the season. Deer River then rattled off four straight wins with a margin of victory of 38 points. That included a 101-45 victory over Class 2A’s Mesabi East.

That resume didn’t mean much as the Warriors’ shots wouldn’t fall and Class 2A’s 18th-ranked Rangers came away with a 67-60 victory.

It’s the lowest point total for the Warriors this season as the Rangers held Deer River to 38% shooting from the field and 26% from 3-point. That and an 11-3 run to start the second half were enough to propel the Rangers to the win.

“Deer River plays a transition game and they’re very good at it,” Ranger head coach Dave Galovich said. “They try to create a lot off of their defense. I thought we did a fair job of keeping the turnovers down because that feeds right into their game plan.


“They’re a good team and they’re very explosive. We knew they could put up a lot of numbers and you saw that at the end. They’re a good squad and we knew we had to play well, but that’s what we want. We want good games like this. It just makes both teams better.”

Four different Rangers scored to create a 46-34 advantage early in the second half. James Stokman, who finished with 15 points, began the rally with a lay-in followed by a Jordan Mount basket. Joey Ringhand scored his only bucket of the game during the run and Noah Larson, who along with Will Meyer, scored a team-high 16 points, added five points in the run.

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Crosby-Ironton coach Dave Galovich signals to his players during their game Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022, with Deer River during their holiday tournament.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

“We thought defensively we played well about the last nine minutes of the first half and I thought we needed to build on that,” Galovich said. “The first nine minutes of the game we couldn’t stop anybody. We weren’t doing anything different, we were just a little bit more focused. We did a better job of keeping the ball in front of us than we were at the beginning of the game.”

Two Mount free throws followed by Meyer and Stokman baskets and a Mount 3-pointer built C-I’s advantage to 58-40 before back-to-back 3-pointers cut C-I’s lead to 12. Those were the first 3-pointers for the Warriors in the second half as they shot 8-of-31 from beyond the arch.

“That’s exactly what we wanted to see out of them,” Meyer said. “Coming in we knew they were a really good 3-point shooting team. They do that in every game we’ve seen from them. We just wanted to get out to the arc as fast as we could, but still contain their pick-and-roll. We were expecting exactly what we saw from them which was quick shots from the arc and then a lot of screens at the top.”

The Rangers shot 6-of-18 from 3 and were 7-of-9 from the line. After a turnover-riddled first half, C-I committed just five second-half turnovers which Galovich said was a key to holding Deer River’s offense in check.

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Crosby-Ironton Ranger Joe Ringhand drives to the basket against the Deer River Warriors Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022, during the holiday tournament in Dave Galovich gym.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

C-I built a 67-51 lead with about two minutes remaining. Deer River then scored the next nine points to close out the scoring.

The Rangers built a four-point halftime lead thanks to 10 points from Meyer. The senior center was 5-of-9 from the field. C-I hit 48% from the field in the first half and 44% from 3-point. Stokman added nine first-half points on 3-4 shooting and Larson scored eight points before picking up his third foul of the half.


“I feel like the last two games I had some kind of mental block down low,” Meyer said. “Today, it kind of faded away. I was excited. There were a few more people in the stands and it was really fun to get some shots to fall.”

The Warriors were led by Ethan Williams’ 11 points. The senior guard finished with a game-high 19 points. Deer River shot just 41% from the field and 27% from 3-point, but collected six points off eight C-I turnovers.

Caiden Schjenken added eight points for Deer River and finished with 16 for the game. Rhett Mundt scored six in the opening frame and finished with eight total.

There were seven lead changes and seven ties before a Stokman 3-pointer and Meyer basket handed C-I a 35-28 lead -- the largest of the half. Deer River’s Cale Jackson scored the half’s final buck for the halftime score.

“Will hitting shots in the paint helped a lot,” Galovich said. “All of a sudden you’re getting some scoring inside and any time they start collapsing if our perimeter guys can figure out the spacing they should get a pretty good look. That did happen a number of times for us in the game. I thought our perimeter guys did a good job of feeding the post as well.”

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Crosby-Ironton Ranger Will Meyer shoots the ball Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2022, against Deer River during the Crosby-Ironton Holiday Tournament.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

The tournament is using the 35-second shot clock. It only affected one possession and that was in Deer River’s favor as it stopped the Rangers from attempting a shot in the time frame to force a turnover.

“It only came into play a few times,” Meyer said. “Normally we can push the ball. That’s what our team likes to do, but the one time it did come into play we got called on it. Overall, I just thought we did really well with the shot clock. It was a new thing for us so it was good.”

Said Galovich: “We told our bench that once the clock got to 10 seconds they needed to alert people. Then the one time it happened they didn’t alert anybody. Other than that, I thought we ran our offense pretty well and passed the ball around and got a lot of people involved and consequently our scoring was pretty balanced.”


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Breck 88, Fond du Lac 51

In the tournament’s other game, the Breck Mustangs defeated Fond du Lac Ojibwe Ogichidaag 88-51.

The Mustangs (1-2) were led by Hanif Muhammed’s 20 points. Will Walker III scored 14 points followed by 11 each from Miles Newton and Kevin Armstrong II. Eleven different Mustangs scored.

The Ogichidaag (2-3) were led by Dannin Savage’s 26 points. Jordell Brown added 18 points.

Deer River 31 29 -- 67

Crosby-Ironton 35 32 -- 60


Matthew Schaaf, Cale Jackson 3, Caiden Schjenken 16, Ethan Williams 19, Nicholas Bakkedahl 2, Kayden Gotchie 3, Rhett Mundt 8, Fred Jackson, Sam Rahier 8, Thomas White 1, Colton Hemphil. FG 25-65 (38%), FT 2-5 (40%). 3-point 8-31 (26%).


Jordan Mount 14, James Stokman 15, Joseph Ringhand 2, Jacob Millsop 4, Noah Larson 16, Will Meyer 16. FG 27-69 (39%), FT 7-9 (77%). 3-point 6-18 (33 %).

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