The Warroad Warriors are back in the subsection finals.
The last time the No. 2-seeded Warriors played in a subsection final was March 15, 2008. They lost to top-seeded Crosby-Ironton 57-45 at Bemidji State University.
Five years later, everything is the same. Warroad will face top-seeded C-I 8 p.m. Tuesday at Bemidji.
This would be the ninth subsection final in 10 years for the Rangers. Section 7-2A, in which the Rangers used to play, cross-brackets and thus doesn’t have a true subsection championship game.
C-I handled the Warriors 76-45 during the Ranger Holiday tournament Dec. 28.
“There is a lot of difference between when we played them in December and the way they played Saturday,” Galovich said. “An awful lot of difference. I told our players, even though you beat somebody by 20 points, there really is only five or six possessions that determine the game. If those possessions don’t go your way the score is a lot different.”
The Rangers have won 15 straight but needed to rally in order to beat Park Rapids in the subsection quarterfinals Saturday. It was the third win of the season over Park Rapids.
The Rangers are led by senior guard Caleb Baker, who averaged 16.6 points per game during the regular season. Baker also averaged 4.8 assists, 3.2 steals and 2.6 rebounds a game. Post Daniel Hudrlik averaged 12.7 points and 7.4 rebounds. Will Goodwin added 11.6 points and Riley Jacobs 10.3 points and 5.0 rebounds a game. Garrett Van Horn provides 6.0 points and 3.0 rebounds as the fifth starter and Brady Tesdahl comes off the bench to give C-I 4.1 points and 3.2 rebounds a game.
“When you win that many games in a row that’s quite an accomplishment for this team,” said Galovich. “We’re not that deep. A lot of times we only go six people so with that our margin for error isn’t very big. That makes what this group has accomplished even more impressive.”
C-I is outscoring opponents 64.7 to 48.7. Warroad (15-13) is averaging 58.6 points per game, while allowing opponents 57.1 per game.
Warroad has won four straight and seven of its last nine. The Warriors eliminated Crookston 68-62 in the subsection semifinals and beat Roseau for the third time this season in the quarterfinals.
“They are a senior-dominant team,” said Galovich. “They are a hungry bunch of players. They like to get up and down the floor. They scored a lot of points in transition in their last game. We need to be aware of that and get back on defense.
“Size wise, they aren’t a problem. But they do have three players that can really score. Kruzer Lunos scored 28 on Saturday. Alan Peterson is a guy that made the all-tournament team during our holiday tournament. He scored 20-plus points in two of the three games. Kedon Sweetney is the third player who can score points for them. Then they throw in some guys who fit roles for them.”
The winner will get either the Southwestern’s top-seeded and Class 2A’s No. 2-ranked Hawley Nuggets or No. 2-seeded and two-time defending section champion Perham in the Section 8-2A final 6:30 p.m, Friday at Concordia College in Moorhead.