Tuesday will be a good night to forget about economic downturns.
Four area teams will play for subsection finals, with Crosby-Ironton vs. Pequot Lakes topping the marquee.
The Mid-State Conference rivals will meet for a third time this season to determine the East Subsection 8-2A champion. The game, originally scheduled for Bemidji State University, will be played at 7 p.m. in the Brainerd High School gym.
Each team collected road victories against the other. Pequot handed C-I its second loss of the season Jan. 23 with a 56-51 victory. The Rangers returned the favor Feb. 17 by a score of 73-51. In game one, the Rangers shot 28 percent from the field. In game two, "We played very poorly and they played extremely well," was the way Pequot coach Garry Grewe put it after the loss.
Pequot senior guard Jonas Dale attempted a shot Feb. 17 during the Crosby-Ironton Rangers' 73-51 victory over the Pequot Lakes Patriots at Pequot. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey » Purchase reprints of this photo.
So for $6 for adults and $4 for students what can the paying public expect Tuesday?
"I'm really curious to find out myself," Grewe said Monday. "You have a couple of different types of basketball played based on what each team has. C-I is smaller, quicker and can shoot better, but we're bigger and I think stronger inside and we play a more half-court style."
After the Ranger loss, Pequot hit a slump, going 3-3 to close out the regular season. A 71-57 loss to Staples-Motley to end the regular season provided a bright spot.
"Even though we lost the game our effort was there from the get-go," said Grewe. "We were getting back to playing with intensity for 36 minutes."
The second-seeded Patriots (20-8) are led by Michael Goerges, who is averaging 13.2 points per game and has 82 total assists. Michael Ward is averaging 12.5 points and 8.4 rebounds to go with 34 blocked shots. Kurtis Moody is adding 11.1 points and 8.3 rebounds. He's got 46 assists and 37 steals. Jonas Dale is next on the team with 10.4 points and 52 assists and 48 steals.
C-I junior forward Sam Baker attempted a shot Feb. 17 during the Crosby-Ironton Rangers' 73-51 victory over the Pequot Lakes Patriots at Pequot. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Pequot is shooting 42.4 percent from the field, while holding teams to 40.8 and outscoring opponents 65.9 to 53.7.
No. 1 C-I Rangers vs. No. 2 PL Patriots
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Brainerd High School
What: East Subsection 8-2A championship
At stake: Trip to Section 8-2A final against Pelican Rapids/East Grand Forks winner
Rangers keys: We have to keep them off the boards and limit their second-chance opportunities. We need to shoot a decent percentage.
- C-I coach Dave Galovich
Patriots keys: If we're taking care of the basketball and getting good shots in our half-court set then we can bang the boards on them.
- Pequot Lakes coach Garry Grewe
The top-seeded Rangers (24-3) closed out the regular season by winning 11 of the last 12 games and finished with a better road record (10-1) than at home (14-2). The Rangers outscored opponents 72.1-56.2. They shot 47 percent from the field and held opponents to 42.1 percent.
"In a 26-game season you're going to have your ups and downs, but our team has been very consistent," said Galovich. "I think that's very impressive for this team because our margin of error is pretty small. We lack size and we don't have a whole lot of depth so we have to do things pretty well every night. Our guys have been able to step up to that pressure and play."
The Rangers are led by Mark Hoge's 20.9 points per game. Brock Tesdahl is adding 14.2 points followed by Sam Baker's 10.7 and Matthew Hudrlik's 10.2.
Hoge is adding a team-high 7.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game. Tesdahl averages 6.7 rebounds and 2.1 steals. Baker grabs 6.0 rebounds and 2.2 steals.
Which Ranger team will show up Tuesday night? The one that shot 28 percent in the loss or the one that shot 48 percent in the win?
"You never know how kids are going to come out," said Galovich. "For us to be successful, defensively, we have to keep them off the boards and limit their second-chance opportunities. Also, we need to pressure them and force them into some turnovers.
"Offensively, we need to take care of the basketball and keep our turnovers down and shoot a decent percentage. We have to put the ball in the hole."
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5856.
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