STAPLES — Cam Larson can bowl a strike.
Larson, whose a member of the Brainerd Warriors bowling team, can also strike from 3-point range and did Friday night along with fellow Crosby-Ironton Rangers guard Will Goodwin.
Those two hit eight 3-pointers and led C-I to a 67-51 Mid-State Conference win over the Staples-Motley Cardinals.
Goodwin led all scorers with 18 points and Larson added 15. Larson, a shooting guard for the 14-3 Rangers, rattled off a 9-1 run of his own, helping C-I to a 32-16 lead in the first half.
“I thought our perimeter played really well, especially Cam,” said Rangers head coach Dave Galovich “Will played well, too. We set some pretty good screens. They came off some staggered double screens and had good looks at the basket, but they finished the play by knocking it down.”
The two guards did it while 1,000-point scorer and post presence Daniel Hudrlik sat with three fouls. The 6-foot-3 junior did finish with 11 points. Riley Jacobs added 12 as the Rangers shot 55 percent from the field for the game and 62 percent in the first half.
C-I was 8-of-12 from 3-point in the first half alone, leading to a 41-24 halftime lead.
The Rangers forced S-M into 21 turnovers and scored 20 points off those Cardinal miscues. An 8-0 run early in the second half all but sealed the victory for Class 2A’s fifth-ranked Rangers.
“It was good to put some pressure on them and not let them get into their offense or better put not let them get comfortable in their offense,” said Galovich. “We made different people handle the ball and I thought we did a pretty good job with that tonight.”
The Cardinals shot 36 percent from the field, but never gave up. They finished the game with a 12-6 run. Tyler Holub led the 8-10 Cardinals with 11 points. Seth Auger scored 10 and Colton Borders and Andrew Israelson each added eight.
“They put a lot of pressure on us,” said Cardinals head coach Michael Poncelet. “They get up on you and put a lot of pressure on the guards and they take away the middle so they dare you to throw the lob pass. Then they are so athletic that they can get to that long pass a lot of the times. They’re able to cover a lot of ground with the guys that they have.”
The Rangers got six points from Noah Gindorff off the bench and had just four turnovers in the first half, but finished with 15 for the game.
“We wanted to run our depth at them and use it to our advantage,” Poncelet said. “We wanted to be physical and lean on them and push them around a little bit and see if we could wear them out. I think we did a good job of getting Hudrlik in foul trouble. The problem is we turned the ball over so much and we couldn’t make shots.”
One ugly spot for the Rangers was 2-of-13 shooting from the foul line, but Galovich isn’t worried. Nor is he worried about a game-heavy schedule to close out the regular season.
“I think we’ll be fine because it’s a situation at this time of the year kids want to play games,” said Galovich. “To practice four days in a row, you’re not going to have four good practices. They like playing games. We’re in that situation right now where we really haven’t had a run of games because of all the cancellations. We need repetitions and hopefully that will make us a better club down the road.”
Crosby-Ironton 41 26 — 67
Staples-Motley 24 27 — 41
Cam Larson 15, Will Goodwin 18, Brady Tesdahl 3, Riley Jacobs 12, Ben Jordan 2, Noah Gindorff 6, Daniel Hudrlik 11. FG 28-51 (55 percent), FT 2-13 (15 percent). 3-point 9-19 (47 percent).
Seth Auger 10, Tyler Holub 11, Jalen Busker 6, Colton Borders 8, Andrew Israelson 8, Nathan Schimpp 2, Colton Paskewitz 4, John Lund 2. FG 18-50 (36 percent), FT 10-15 (67 percent). 3-point 5-23 (22 percent).