East Grand heats up down the stretch, upsets Rangers
BEMIDJI — With a seven-point lead it all went wrong for the Crosby-Ironton Rangers.
Top-seeded and Class 2A’s third-ranked Rangers held a 31-24 lead early in the second half, but suffered three straight possessions that resulted in turnovers to turn the tide for No. 2 seeded East Grand Forks Green Wave. The Wave turned that momentum into a 50-46 upset victory in Tuesday’s North Subsection 8-2A finals at Bemidji State University.
“We got up seven for a reason,” said Rangers head 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 Division II 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 East Grand Forks head coach Travis Lindgren. “He’s a four-year player and second leading 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, East Grand’s only 3 of the game, tied the game at 34 with 6:30 remaining. Then Warmack took over, scoring six of the Green Wave’s 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 three in the corner, he’s got a knack for that. That’s not the first time he’s made big shots for us.”
C-I battled back as Cam Larson drained a 3-pointer and Daniel Hudrlik, who led the Rangers with 19, drained another to cut it to 44-39, but East Grand 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 just 4-of-10.
C-I 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 ally-oop for an 18-14 C-I edge, which tied the Rangers’ largest lead of the half.
East Grand’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.”
East Grand Forks 16 34 — 50
Crosby-Ironton 19 27 — 46
EAST GRAND FORKS
Cole Hammargren 2, Ty Misialek 4, Micah Friez 7, Grant Frydenlund 3, Jim Warmack 27, Ben Bjornson 8. FG 15-33 (45 percent), FT 19-23 (83 percent). 3-point 1-8 (13 percent).
Cam Larson 9, Will Goodwin 5, Riley Jacobs 7, Noah Gindorff 3, Daniel Hudrlik 19. FG 18-43 (42 percent), FT 4-10 (40 percent). 3-point 6-18 (33 percent).
Story by Jeremy Millsop/Forum News Service