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Boys basketball: Esko blows by Cloquet

 

December 13, 2019

Dan Saletel

Esko's James LeGarde works to get a shot past Dylan Heehn during Friday's game in Cloquet, an easy win for the Eskomos.

It didn't take long for the Esko boys basketball team to warm up Friday night in their 89-54 win in Cloquet. The Eskomos got hot right after the opening tip off and before the Lumberjacks could blink, they found themselves in a 20-point hole they were never able to dig out of.

"It was something to see," said Cloquet coach Steve Battaglia. "Esko hit seven 3-pointers in the first six minutes of the game and we were down by 20 points before we realized the game had even started. It was unbelievable."

Esko coach Derek Anderson echoed those sentiments.

"We have talked for the last couple of weeks about getting out to a better start than we had last year," Anderson said. "The kids bought in and came ready to play against Cloquet. Eli (Blue) got us going and everyone fed off that. When we made a few we had a couple minute stretch where it seemed like we couldn't miss."

Blue had 16 points but was not the leading scorer for Esko. Both Trevor Spindler and Peyton Wefel led with 19 points. Riley Fischer added 13 points and Preston Lowe had eight points. James

Legarde finishing with five points, both Jerry Andler and Chad Hart had four points and Cade Berger finished with one point.

"They came out and hit a bunch of threes and we also had a tough time of staying in front of them," Battaglia said. "When you add 20 offensive rebounds that they picked up, you've got a pretty good recipe for a disaster."

Esko built a 52-28 lead at halftime. One of the bright spots for the 'Jacks was the play of junior Adam Schneider, who poured in a game high of 22 points.

"We were aware of how good a player he is. He can attack off the dribble, hit the mid-range and also shoot the three-pointer," Anderson said. "We just wanted to make everything difficult for him and make him earn everything. We had a couple of lapses where we were a little too aggressive and sent him to the line, but other than that I was pleased with how our players defended him."

The Lumberjacks also received double-digit scoring from Dylan Heehn and Damian Diver, who finished with 11 and 10 points respectively. Alec Turnbull had a good night for Cloquet with eight points, Tyler Issendorf scored two points and Nate Blatchford added a single point.

Esko finished with 11 three-pointers in the game, making seven of their first nine.

"When they hit those early three-pointers in the first six minutes, and were shooting as well as they did that early in the game, it was a hit to our mindset," Battaglia said. "We started forcing bad shots to get back in the game in a hurry and things snowballed from there. They've got three or four kids that can really shoot the ball."

Wefel recorded four treys and Blue had three.

"It was a very important win for us," Anderson said. "Anytime you can compete against a bigger school, it helps to build confidence for the remainder of the season."

For Cloquet it was an early-

season eye-opener and gives them a better idea of where they are at. "Esko kicked us. It was kind of a perfect storm," Battaglia said. "We played worse than we will most nights. Not having (Markus) Pokornowski - who was playing at the state all-star football game - really showed up in the amount of offensive boards we gave up. He's a big piece of our team. However, he's not making up the 30 points we got beat by."

 
 

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