GRAND RAPIDS -- The Crosby-Ironton Rangers boys' basketball team advanced to the Section 7, Class 2A semifinals by eliminating the Aitkin Gobblers 53-51 Saturday at the Grand Rapids High School.
The top-seeded Rangers did it in front of a swarm of maroon and white clad fans.
"The more people, the more excitement the better the game," said senior Mitch Wood. "I think we play better in pressure like that. The more people screaming makes it a better atmosphere. In tight games like that it helps when the fans in the stands are screaming."
Brett Dickie led the Rangers with 24 points and John Holder led Aitkin with 18 points.
"It makes it so much nicer," said Dickie. "The adrenaline gets running and you don't even worry about how tired you are or if anything hurts. You just go. You go has hard as you can to make the crowd get louder and louder."
It's the second straight victory for the Rangers, who are playing without head coach Dave Galovich and assistant coach Neil Tesdahl because of a teacher's strike. The strike reached 25 days Saturday.
Top-seeded C-I will play third-seeded Moose Lake-Willow River at Grand Rapids 7:45 p.m. Thursday for a chance to return to the section final.
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