BEMIDJI — The Bagley Flyers were the big kids on the block this year.
And they muscled their way into the Section 8-2A championship Tuesday by upsetting the top-seeded, but younger Crosby-Ironton Rangers 70-50 to secure the Northeastern Subsection title at Bemidji State University.
Bagley outrebounded C-I 36-20, with 20 of those rebounds coming on the offensive end. The Flyers collected 20 second chance points and attempted 18 more field goals.
“That’s our game,” said Flyers head coach Chuck Anderson. “Kris (Skersick) is just big and strong. Lorenzo (Pemberton) can just jump so we stress rebounding and defense. Sometimes the kids don’t agree because they want to get up and down the floor, but you need the ball before you can do that.”
Bagley’s Tyler George, a 6-foot senior, led all scorers with 23 points followed by the workhorse in the paint Skersick, who tallied 19 points, with 10 coming off of offensive rebounds.
“I told the kids before the game that they were a senior dominated team and they were hungry,” Rangers head coach Dave Galovich said. “They were the No. 1 seed last year and got knocked off in this game. You could tell they were ready to play. They had a little strength on us. We tried to out finesse them, but we couldn’t.”
The Flyers never trailed and caused 16 Ranger turnovers. They scored 13 points off of those and owned a double digit lead for most of the second half.
C-I did climb 45-38 with 11:07 remaining thanks to back-to-back Jacob Goodwin 3-pointers. One of just two seniors on the Rangers squad, Goodwin finished with 13 points. Michael Hoge, the other senior, added eight points. Caleb Baker scored 13 and Daniel Hudrlik tallied 11 for the 17-11 Rangers.
“One thing I told the kids after the game was I was proud of the way we stuck together,” Galovich said. “We had good times and bad times and we had a string there where we had some tough losses and they all kept working and kept coming to practice with a good attitude. That stems from your seniors and they did a good job of leading us and keeping everyone together.”
Bagley’s 2-3 zone gave the Rangers fit as they made it to the free throw line only seven times and made just two. The Rangers shot 41 percent from the field, while Bagley shot 44 percent, but took 18 more shots.
“C-I is a great team and they’re very well coached,” said Anderson. “They’re young, but they have good, experienced players so we knew they were capable of a comeback. That’s why I was holding my timeouts in my back pocket as best as I could. We knew at anytime that they could go off, but they didn’t.”
Bagley 31 39 — 70
Crosby-Ironton 22 28 — 50
Lucas Thompson 2, Austin Bellefy 13, Tyler George 23, Kris Skersick 19, Andrew Larson 2, Lorenzo Pemberton 6, Kaine Lundmark 4. Team totals: FG 30-67 (45 percent), FT 7-16 (44 percent), 3-point 1-12 (8 percent).
Jacob Goodwin 13, Will Goodwin 3, Michael Hoge 8, Caleb Baker 13, Riley Jacbos 2, Daniel Hudrlik 11. Team totals: FG 20-49 (41 percent), FT 2-7 (29 percent) , 3-point 6-21 (29 percent).