Dave Galovich was a freshman in high school.
Brad Strand was 1.
That's how old the head coaches of the Crosby-Ironton Rangers and Pelican Rapids Vikings were the last time these two teams battled for a section championship. It was 1969 and the Rangers won.
"They still talk about that being the greatest team in Pelican history," said Strand, whose 22-7 Vikings advanced to the section final with wins over Crookston (65-32), Perham (52-46) and East Grand Forks (69-54).
"Then they got us again during the 1993 state tournament. I wasn't at Pelican then, but I was in the stands watching it. I came here in 1996 so I have not faced C-I yet."
Crosby-Ironton Rangers head coach Dave Galovich talked with Trevor Dickie during a break in the action of C-I's 68-61 victory over Staples-Motley Feb. 8 in Crosby. The Rangers face Pelican Rapids in the Section 8-2A final Tuesday. Brainerd Dispatch/ Clint Wood » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Strand will get his chance 7 p.m. Tuesday at Bemidji State University for the Section 8-2A final. This is the fourth-straight section final for Pelican, which lost to Bagley in last season's game, but has advanced to state as recently as 2006 and 2003.
The Rangers have not been to state since 1999 and just missed last year falling to Pequot Lakes. They've advanced to this point with victories over Roseau (99-45), Bagley (78-49) and Warroad (57-45).
C-I's balanced offensive attack has given opponents fits all season, its defense has played well the last four games holding teams to 46.3 points per game.
Zone was the remedy against Warroad in the East Subsection finals Saturday, but Galovich expects to mix a couple of different zones with some man defense against the Vikings, who are led by point guard Tydan Storrusten. The 6-foot-2 junior averages 22.9 points, 6.8 assists, 6.2 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game.
"They're a good ball club that has improved greatly from the beginning of the season," said Galovich. "They're led by their point guard. He does an awful lot of good things. A good example of that was in the (West) subsection final he scored their first 13 points and finished with 31. He's not a one-man show. They have a very talented post man in Eric Shulstad."
The 6-foot-6 Shulstad is averaging 16.6 points and 9.9 rebounds a game. Junior Matt Haugen (6-1, guard) averages 7.2 points and 3.0 rebounds, senior Matt Satterlie (6-5, forward) is averaging 5.5 points and 4.5 rebounds and senior Jan-Erik Lindberg, (6-foot, guard) is averaging 6.4 points a game.
Section 8-2A final
Who: Crosby-Ironton Rangers (29-0) vs. Pelican Rapids Vikings (22-7)
When: 7 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Bemidji State University
For: A berth in the Class 2A state boys' basketball tournament
Offensively, the Vikings average 69.6 points a game, while holding opponents to 56.1. Holding C-I's offense will be the key and Strand said that starts with stopping Bryce Tesdahl.
"He is amazing," Strand said. "He's the best passer I have ever seen. Then you have (Derek) Swanhorst down low. It would take two of our guys put together to match his size. We don't have a match up for him. Then you also have to be concerned with their balance. They have five guys who score in double figures often led by Tesdahl and Swanhorst. Maybe one of those two will get into foul trouble, but then you have (Trevor) Dickie who can hurt you from outside and drive on you. If he misses you have (Kody) Bartels grabbing every rebound."
Tesdahl averages 16.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game. Swanhorst is averaging 14.6 points and 7.9 rebounds, while shooting 67.1 percent from the field.
Dickie averages 11.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists a game, Bartels averages 9.6 points and 5.1 rebounds. Joe McLaughlin is averaging 9.1 points and 5.5 rebounds and Mark Hoge contributes 5.3 points and 3.0 rebounds.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5856.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.