CROSBY - The Staples-Motley Cardinals got one, but couldn't get the other.
On Jan. 30 S-M knocked off then-fourth-ranked Pequot Lakes 55-54. Friday they tried to knock off Class 2A's third-ranked Crosby-Ironton Rangers.
The way S-M shot in the first half, a repeat looked to be in the cards. But C-I was more efficient in the second half and held on for a 68-57 Mid-State Conference victory.
C-I shot 63 percent (12-of-19) in the second half and received 14 second-half points from 6-foot-5 forward C.J. Peeters. The senior drained two 3-pointers, the second giving the Rangers a 51-45 advantage. Nestled in between the two perimeter shots was a steal and breakaway dunk that electrified the home crowd in the Ranger Gym.
Peeters finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and three blocked shots. Bryce Tesdahl added 15 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, and Trevor Dickie contributed 14 points and four rebounds.
Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist
"The old saying is unless you're a really great team, you've got to get some easy baskets to win and I think C-I had more easy baskets than we did," said Cardinals head coach Lynn Peterson.
C-I's three-headed post of Derek Swanhorst, Kody Bartels and Joe McLaughlin combined for 22 points. It was C-I's ability to penetrate the Cardinals' zone defense that led to easy baskets.
"We've been doing a couple of things different to emphasis the inside as well as giving us opportunities on the perimeter," said Ranger coach Dave Galovich. "In the second half we showed a little more patience and were able to get the ball inside and that's where we had the advantage."
The Cardinals had the advantage in the first half, draining 50 percent of their 3-pointers (6-of-12) and shooting 46 percent from the field. Caleb Nurnberger led the charge with 15 first-half points, nine of which came from beyond the arc. Derek Wolhowe, Jordan Riewer and Matt Edin added the other 3s to help S-M to a 26-21 advantage with 3:30 remaining in the opening frame.
Brainerd Dispatch/Nels Norquist
But C-I went on a 12-4 run to end the half. Tesdahl scored seven of those points to give C-I a 33-32 halftime edge.
In the second half, S-M shot just 3-of-11 from 3-point land and 7-of-25 from the field. While they outhustled C-I for nine second-chance points, they couldn't overcome the cold shooting.
"Our perimeter shooting kept us in the game in the first half and I think that's what let us down a little bit in the second half," said Peterson. "I think that you start to tire and your shots don't fall as easy."
Nurnberger scored 11 second-half points to finish with a game-high 26. Derek Wolhowe finished with 12 points.
The loss snapped the Cardinals' three-game win streak, its longest of the season. The streak included the Pequot victory. Galovich said that win caught the attention of the Rangers.
"An awful lot," said Galovich. "Plus, the fact that we know if we win outright we win the conference and that's a huge incentive for us. We had three tough conference games left and now we're down to two. If we take care of business then good things will happen."
The Rangers have won 10 straight and improved to 7-1 in the conference. Games against Park Rapids and Wadena-Deer Creek remain.
Staples-Motley 32 25 - 57
Crosby-Ironton 33 35 - 68
Colton Thompson 4, Caleb Nurnberger 26, Derek Wolhowe 12, Jordan Riewer 8, Matt Edin 7. Team totals: FG 18-49 (37 percent), FT 12-15 (80 percent), 3-point baskets: 9-23 (Nurnberger 3, Riewer 2, Thompson 1, Wolhowe 2, Edin 1).
C.J. Peeters 17, Trevor Dickie 14, Bryce Tesdahl 15, Kody Bartels 5, Derek Swanhorst 9, Joe McLaughlin 8. Team totals: FG 22-46 (48 percent), FT 16-22 (72 percent), 3-point baskets: 8-16 (Peeters 3, Dickie 2, Tesdahl 3).
JEREMY MILLSOP can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.