BOYS BASKETBALL: Senior High reaches Section 8AA title game
BEMIDJI — Down by seven, things suddenly perked up for East Grand Forks Senior High on Tuesday night.
The Green Wave were trailing top-seeded and Minnesota Class AA’s No. 3-ranked Crosby-Ironton 31-24 lead early in the second half, but turned on the defense to force three successive Ranger turnovers to turn the tide.
That change of momentum led to a 50-46 upset victory by Senior High in the North Subsection 8AA championship game at Bemidji State.
“We got up seven for a reason,” said Rangers coach Dave Galovich. “We were playing some nice defense. We had some ball reversals and had some inside-outside scoring opportunities. Then we got up by seven, and you have to credit their defense. We had multiple possessions that were just not good. Maybe we didn’t reverse the ball. Maybe we took a shot we didn’t have to. But that was the momentum changer.”
Green Wave’s senior Jim Warmack scored 19 of his game-high 27 points in the second half. The 6-foot-7 center shot 4-for-4 from the field and 9-of-9 from the line.
“Jim has been a big-time player for us,” said Green Wave coach Travis Lindgren. “He’s a four-year player and second-leading (career) scorer at our school. And that was one of our talks at halftime. We felt like we needed to get him to the basket more. We settled a little too much and didn’t get him enough touches.”
Ty Misialek’s 3-pointer, Senior High’s only trey of the game, tied it 34-34 with 6:30 remaining. Then Warmack took over, scoring six of the Green Wave eight points in an 8-0 run which handed them a 42-34 edge.
“We were down by seven and I think the guys did a good job of staying patient,” said Lindgren. “They know we’ve had some good offensive success throughout the year, but it was more of a grind-it-out game. The Ty 3 in the corner — he’s got a knack for that. That’s not the first time he’s made big shots for us.”
Crosby-Ironton battled back as Cam Larson drained a 3-pointer and Daniel Hudrlik, who led the Rangers with 19 points, drained another to cut it to 44-39, but Senior High hit 15-of-18 from the line in the second half and shot 83 percent from the line for the game, while C-I was 4-of-10.
Crosby-Ironton forced the Green Wave into nine first half turnovers and created six points off of them. The Rangers shot just 8-of-20, however and only got two points off of offensive rebounds.
Warmack led East Grand with eight first-half points, but picked up his second foul midway through the half and then a late third foul with 40 seconds left in the half.
Will Goodwin drained a 3-pointer and then hit Hudrlik on an alley-oop for an 18-14 C-I edge, which tied the Rangers’ largest lead of the half.
Senior High’s Bjornson hit a layup off a loose ball and Riley Jacobs hit one of two free throws for the 19-16 halftime score.
Jacobs finished with 12 point for the Rangers, who finished the season 24-4.
“We had to replace Caleb Baker, who was the MVP of our conference, three-year starter and a 1,000 point scorer and we didn’t have one person to replace that,” said Galovich. “The thing that made this team so good, everybody brought something different to the table. They all had their unique skill set. Their chemistry meshed well and that led to a heck of a year. We strung together 15 wins. You don’t do that by accident.”