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Girls Basketball: Oehrlein’s 33 leads Rangers past Aitkin in throwback game

Crosby-Ironton hosts Aitkin Friday, Jan. 14

Crosby-Ironton girls basketball vs Aitkin Friday, Jan. 14, 2022.
Tori Oehrlein shoots for Crosby-Ironton girls basketball during their game against Aitkin Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, in the Woock Gym.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

CROSBY — It was throwback night at Crosby-Ironton High School Friday, Jan. 14.

In the Woock Gym, with throwback uniforms and even the referees in stripes, the Crosby-Ironton Rangers knocked off the Aitkin Gobblers 68-30.

“It’s a lot of fun being a home-town Ranger,” C-I head coach Peter Vukelich said about playing in the Woock Gym. “I watched a lot of games here growing up and saw a lot of old faces here tonight.”

Eighth grader Tori Oehrlein led all scorers with 33 points, including five 3-pointers. She scored 17 in the first half and 16 in the second half.

The Rangers jumped to a 32-14 first-half lead thanks to their full-court press. Despite having 16 first-half points, Oehrlein did receive three personal fouls in the first nine minutes of the contest.

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Aitkin wanted to keep the ball out of Oehrlein’s hands as much as possible and issued a box-in-one defense to start.

“You just try to contain her,” Aitkin head coach Mike Reem said. “You try to not let her beat the first person so they get layup after layup because she’s a good passer. You try to make her beat you from the outside.”

After back-to-back Ella Janzen 3-pointers, Aitkin narrowed the deficit to 32-20. Oehrlein sank two free throws toward the end of the half and C-I went into the intermission up 34-21.

Even with a healthy lead, Vukelich wasn’t happy with the first-half performance.

“(Aitkin) scored 19 the other night against Braham and I just told them that they scored more in this first half than they did in their last game,” Vukelich said. “We needed to come out with more intensity. I’m happy they came out and did exactly what I asked.”

With the Rangers leading 41-25, Oehrlein scored seven straight to stretch the lead to 23. After a Mya DeCent layup, C-I doubled up Aitkin 50-25.

Margaret Silgen finished with 13 points for C-I off the bench with 10 coming in the second half. Silgen poured in three 3-pointers as her and Oehrlein accounted for all of the Rangers’ 3s.

“First half we were a little cold, but we got it going in the second half,” Vukelich said. “We knew they were going to fall. That’s the thing, when Tori is getting box-in-oned, the other girls have to shoot. The key is those offensive rebounds. Tori does a great job positioning herself and getting away from the defender.

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Aitkin was led by Janzen and Raelene Nyberg who each scored 11 points. The Gobblers could only muster nine second-half points.

“It seems like it’s been a challenging season,” Reem said. “We have to learn from every possession that we have. It’s a long process.”

Crosby-Ironton will be back in action Monday against Pierz, followed by a date with Pequot Lakes Thursday which C-UI lost 63-41 earlier in the season.

“It’s a rival,” Vukelich said of Pequot Lakes. “Now we get them on our home floor and we kind of want to return the favor of getting them back.”

Aitkin 21 9 — 30

Crosby-Ironton 34 34 — 68

AITKIN

Jillian Cline , Emma Jacobson , Abigail Palm , Sara Thompson , Raelene Nyberg , Teagan Piecek , Ailie Kullhem , Emma Skaj , Ella Janzen , Camille Parentwau , Sophia Snyder . FG 10-35 (28.6%), FT 7-19 (36.8%). 3-point 3-15 (20%).

CROSBY-IRONTON

Kalli Papenfuss , Josie Schaefer , Mya DeCent , Jada Mitchell , Anna Vignieri , Korinna Nixon , Bri Miller , Bryn Hollenhorst , Margaret Silgen , Ellen Silgen , Keina Stirewalt , Tori Oehrlein 33, Hannah Pakarinen . FG 25-69 (36.2%), FT 10-14 (71.4%). 3-point 8-31 (25.8%).

Crosby-Ironton 68, Aitkin 30

Key: Oehrlein’s 33 points pace Rangers to first Mid-State win.

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Conference: Ait 0-1, C-I 1-1

Overall: Ait 6-8, C-I 10-4

Next: Aitkin at Park Rapids 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 20; Crosby-Ironton at Pierz 7:15 p.m. Monday, Jan. 17.

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or conrad.engstrom@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/the_rad34.

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