State Boys Basketball: The agony of defeat looms large in C-I - Or does it?

It's hard to remember those were teenagers wearing maroon and white. It's even harder when you're looking at Noah Gindorff, who at 6-foot-6, 200-plus pounds, is bigger than almost everybody in the Crosby-Ironton community except his dad. It's har...


It's hard to remember those were teenagers wearing maroon and white.

It's even harder when you're looking at Noah Gindorff, who at 6-foot-6, 200-plus pounds, is bigger than almost everybody in the Crosby-Ironton community except his dad.

It's hard to remember they're playing a game-a sport. It's a game they love playing and have played most of their short life. They've spent hours creating the scenario where they hit that last second shot to win the state tournament.

In C-I, every kid who has picked up a basketball creates that scenario. To be the first Ranger team to win a state boys basketball tournament-epic.

But these are teenagers.


Because the Crosby-Ironton Rangers had lost in the state championship game five times previous, it hurts more. Because it happened to a team that couldn't figure out how to score on your defense, it hurts more.

That is, until you talk to the actual players.

To say Evan Edmundson struggled at the Target Center in the final two rounds of the state tournament would be correct and also wrong. The senior guard played great defense. C-I held state champion Minnehaha Academy to 37-percent shooting, including 2-of-12 from 3-point where Edmundson roams.

St. Cloud Cathedral wasn't any better in the state semifinal. The Crusaders shot 32 percent from the field and 5-of-25 (20 percent) from 3-point.

Nobody lit it up from 3-point and that just happens to be where "Edmo," as he's called, makes his living.

"I don't know, I couldn't tell you," Edmundson said about his shot not falling. "It was kind of weird. It usually doesn't happen. They didn't fall. You can't really do anything about it."
Edmundson is right. It doesn't happen to him. Edmundson shot 46 percent (97-of-21) in the Rangers' first 26 games. The senior was 1-3 from 3-point and finished with 10 points in C-I's 64-49 quarterfinal victory over Breckenridge at Williams Arena. But the Target Center is different.

Edmundson was held scoreless in both games at Target. He was 0-11 from 3-point.

"People told me to keep shooting, teammates and the crowd, but, I don't know, after awhile, you just get tired of seeing the ball not going through the net," Edmundson said.


Being from C-I he's not alone. Should he ever struggle thinking back on the two days he spent at Target Center he simply needs to call someone from the 2008 and 2010 team. They all know how it feels.

"Everyday. Everyday," said Bryce Tesdahl when asked how often he thinks about losing the Class 2A state champion to New London-Spicer in 2008.

"It's something, that I don't wish too many days back, but that would be the one that continues to haunt me a little bit,' Tesdahl said. "At the same time, that's why I got into coaching and hopefully someday I'll get the opportunity to get that day back.

"It's more than winning and losing, especially when you get to that point. You want to win and people will remember you if you took second or first, but at the end of the day, it doesn't speak for what you will do in life and your career down the road."

The 2008 C-I team was undefeated and ranked at or near the top of the polls all season long. They were supposed to be there. This year's team was more like the 2010 team, which nobody expected would play for a state title.

Mark Hoge played on both teams. Each was a little different. He said every time he's in a tournament and makes it to the championship he thinks about state. Anytime he sees a former teammate, the topic gets mentioned.

"The only real difference was in 2008 I played a role for the team," Hoge said. "It was an all senior team that had been undefeated all year and everyone expected to win because they were so good. I was just happy to play my role on that team.

"Then in 2010, it was my crew that I had been playing with our whole lives and we were chasing our goal that we had set for ourselves as young kids about going to the state tournament and winning it."


Hoge and Tesdahl can understand the pressure of being a teenager and playing in front of thousands for a chance at history. They agreed-if you haven't played in it, you can't know.

"It's really hard to put a level on it," he said. "Everyone talks about how, 'Oh they should just be relaxed' or 'Why aren't they playing their game.' It's different when you step on that court and those lights hit you and you realize everybody is watching you. Some people get those jitters and that makes them play more hesitant and more nervous than they normally do.

"It's a completely different type of feeling, which is why, even in the NCAA March Madness you see so many teams get upset, even in college."

Said Tesdahl: "I don't think anyone can understand it unless you're been there. I mean it's something where our 2008, 2010 and 1987 team and every time Crosby goes down there, we have in common. I went to the locker room after the semifinal win (Friday) and talked with Jack Silgen and Noah Gindorff and they asked if I had any advice and I told them to just go play the game and don't worry about any of the pressure that comes with playing in a state championship game in a Crosby-Ironton uniform and being 0-5 before they tipped off."

Easier said than done. But Edmundson, who tallied six assists, two rebounds and a steal in the two games at Target Center, seems to be OK.

"It's not as stressful as you might think," Edmundson said. "I had a really fun time. I didn't think it was as stressful as the section finals was. I think just being the goal of going to the state tournament and getting through the section made that harder. We didn't have any pressure on us to win at the state tournament. If we won it would have been great, but if we lost, our goal was just to get there."

As of noon Sunday, Edmundson hadn't replayed the game in his head yet. He was still too tired. When asked if he was able to sleep when he got home Saturday night:

"Yes, I did. I slept for a really long time."

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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