Esko keeps rolling; Cromwell-Wright knocked out
March 26, 2021
In the Section 7AA girls basketball playoffs the No. 1 seeded Eskomos, not surprisingly, are still standing and were set to play No. 4 seed Crosby-Ironton Wednesday as this issue of the Pine Knot News went to press.
Esko beat Eveleth-Gilbert 61-31 in the quarterfinals on Saturday after getting a bye in the first round. Jayden Karppinen had a huge night for the Eskomos by scoring 30 points and nearly outscoring the Golden Bears herself.
If the Eskomos won Wednesday, they were set to advance to the championship game at 6 p.m. Friday, March 26, against the winner of the Marshall (No. 2) vs. Pequot Lakes (No. 3) game, also on Wednesday. That game will be played at the high seed. Look for updates on the Pine Knot News Facebook page.
In other 7AA games, Moose Lake/Willow River was eliminated, falling to Proctor 56-34 in the first round Thursday, March 18, before Proctor lost to Crosby-Ironton 51-47 Saturday.
The Cloquet girls basketball team was eliminated from the Section 7AAA tournament in the opening round against Hermantown, losing to the Hawks for the third time this season.
Cloquet came in with a 6-12 record, while the Hawks were 8-10. Hermantown defeated Cloquet in the first game of the regular season 65-56 January 16 and then beat Cloquet once again in mid-February 50-41, so this marked the third time the Lumberjacks fell to the Hawks this season.
A big key to the win by the Hawks was the play of Elly Schmitz, who poured in 25 points to lead Hermantown to the win.
Maddie Young and Alexa Snesrud led the Lumberjacks with 14 and 11 points.
After beating No. 13 Nashwauk-Keewatin 57-23, the No. 4 seed Cromwell-Wright girls basketball team advanced to the quarterfinals of the 7A section tournament and easily defeated No. 5 seed Chisholm 67-34 Friday, March 19.
Then they ran into their nemesis, the No. 1 seeded Mountain Iron-Buhl team in the semifinals Tuesday, March 23. The Rangers flexed their muscle early and often against the Cards who struggled to stay with MIB. MIB led it 39-19 at halftime and kept the pressure on throughout the second half. The final score was 71-38 and MIB advanced to play Cherry (No. 2 seed) in the final Thursday, after this issue of the Pine Knot News was printed.
Natalie Hakamaki led the Cards with 10 points and Katherine Libbon added nine points for Cromwell in the loss.
In other Section 7A action, No. 3 South Ridge defeated No. 14 Wrenshall 89-10 in the second round on March 17.
“We were not mentally ready to take on the task of competing that day,” said Wrens coach Daiman LaFave. “We slowed them early, but the shots weren’t falling and it took the wind out of our sails. We had better success against their press, but we just couldn’t generate any offense.”
Svea Snickers and Adella Olesiak led the Panthers with 21 and 17 points.
South Ridge won again in the quarterfinals Friday, March 19, defeating No. 6 Cook County by a score of 66-48. Olesiak led the Panthers with 23 points, Snickers added 13, and Raina Schneider finished with 10 points.
“We played real well against Wrenshall and shot very well,” said Brad Olesiak, coach of the Panthers. “We struggled a little against Cook County, but Adella got hot in the second half with 19 of her 23 in the second half.”
The Panthers were eliminated in the semifinals by Cherry, 61-45. The Tigers jumped out to a 10-point halftime lead and then pulled away to the 16-point semifinal win.
Olesiak led the Panthers with 15 points.
After beating McGregor 65-47 in the first round of the Section 5A girls basketball playoffs, No. 8 seeded Barnum advanced to play the No. 1 seeded Ogilvie team. Ogilvie showed why it had the top ranking, defeating the Bombers 69-41. Ogilvie lost in the next round. The championship game between Belgrade-Brooten-
Elrosa and Swanville was set for Thursday, March 25.