PEQUOT LAKES — With the weight of the world already on his shoulders, Jordan Redmond stepped to the free throw line.
With the score knotted at 67 and 58.7 seconds on the clock, Redmond took a deep breath.
He took many deep breaths.
There was no place he would rather have been Friday night then at that line with a chance to help his Pequot Lakes Patriots claim another Mid-State Conference victory over the Crosby-Ironton Rangers.
Redmond sank his first free throw. The almost packed Pequot gym went wild. After Redmond made his second shot to finish with a team-high 20 points, Pequot was able to hang on for a 73-67 victory and a regular-season sweep of C-I.
No one was happier than Redmond, who on Monday morning will be at his father, Joseph Redmond’s funeral.
“I was just hoping we could win this,” said Redmond. “I was doing everything I could to stay positive with all my dad’s stuff. I was praying to him while I was at the free throw line, just hoping he could help us through this and try not to let my emotions get in the way too much.”
Pequot’s junior post scored seven of his 20 points in the second half, but it was Pequot’s perimeter shooting that was the final undoing of C-I. Pequot hit 5-of-8 from 3-point in the second half. Nevin Greer, who was held to four first-half points drained three 3s to finish with 15.
Logan Lange, who also scored just four first-half points, hit two more 3s to finish with 16 points. It was Greer’s final 3-pointer, off a loose ball, that helped Pequot tie the score at 65-65 with 3:00 left.
“I thought Lange played well distributing the basketball tonight,” said Pequot Lakes head coach Gerry Grewe. “Then all of a sudden Greer got hot. We just kept telling Greer to keep shooting. He’s our best shooter and that was another big key.”
Michael Hoge led C-I with 20 points. The senior scored 13 of those in the second half, including eight from the free throw line. He scored the Rangers’ final six points before picking up his fifth foul. He also added 10 rebounds.
Daniel Hudrlik grabbed 12 rebounds for C-I, but battled foul trouble for much of the first half and all of the second. That’s when Redmond took over in the paint as he went 5-of-7 from the field after a rough start.
The Rangers held a 21-9 edge in the first half thanks to an 11-2 run. Then Hudrlik picked up his third foul and Pequot went to a full-court press. That produced five turnovers and the Patriots scored eight points off those turnovers to cut into C-I’s lead.
“We wanted to change the tempo of the game because I felt we were a little flat-footed and they were dictating tempo,” said Grewe. “I think the key to any game is tempo.”
Grewe used that same press again late in the second half to help Pequot overcome a 57-52 deficit.
“We had some defensive breakdowns where we gave them three pretty good looks from the perimeter and they knocked those 3s down,” said Galovich. “Those were scores that came too easy for them. We couldn’t afford that. Then they had some dribble penetration that led to easy baskets and we turned the ball over down the stretch.”
Pequot then hit free throws as they finished 15-of-18 in the second half. Riley Johnson was 4-of-4 in the last minute to finish with 10 points.
“We’ve been very inconsistent with our free throw shooting this year,” said Grewe. “Last game we were 14-of-28. We should have had a big win. This game we were 23-of-30 and we hit them down the stretch.”
Caleb Baker recorded 16 points and nine assists for the Rangers, who fall to 14-10 overall. Pequot improved to 13-10.
“It was awesome to be out there on the court,” said Redmond. “Especially with the win. I was so emotional before the game. I didn’t know if I could do it. I really wanted to just because I know my dad would really want me to play.”
Crosby-Ironton 35 32 — 67
Pequot Lakes 33 40 — 73
Will Goodwin 11, Michael Hoge 20, Caleb Baker 16, Riley Jacobs 4, Garrett Van Horn 8, Daniel Hudrlik 8. FG 23-49(47 percent), FT 17-24 (71 percent), 3-point baskets: 4-7 (57 percent).
Nevin Greer 15, Logan Lange 16, Nolan Michaelson 4, Riley Johnson 10, Jordan Redmond 20, Travis Jacobson 8. FG 22-56 (39 percent), FT 23-30 (77 percent), 3-point baskets: 6-12 (50 percent).
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5856.