A hometown newspaper with a local office, local owners & lots of local news

Talented Esko boys team aims for state

Esko boys basketball finds itself at the midpoint of the season with a stellar 10-2 record. The highflying Eskomos have scored an average of 78 points a game while allowing an average of just 59 points a game. That is a recipe for success.

“We have been looking to push the ball more in transition this season,” said Esko coach Derek Anderson. “We have also done a good job of sharing the ball and finding the open man.”

The athleticism of his team allows Anderson to push things into higher gear on both sides of the ball, but it manifests itself on the defensive side — which leads to gaudy offensive numbers.

“We have been running more full court pressure to try and speed teams up,” Anderson said. “We have also been mixing up defenses more than years past.”

The two losses this season came at the hands of Hibbing, a AAA power, and Perham, which is a perennial power in Section 8AA. The loss to Perham was Jan. 8, when the Yellowjackets came to Esko and slipped away with a win.

“Perham is very well coached and fundamentally sound,” Anderson said. “We didn’t execute well on either end and they took advantage of it. We also missed 14 free throws.”

The Eskomos bounced back with an impressive road win over Superior last Thursday, beating the Spartans 88-77.

“I am pleased with where we are currently at as a team,” said Anderson. “We still have a lot of work to do if we want to meet our expectations of making it back to State.”

As far as trying to make a state run, the Eskomos will need to avoid injury and illness while also working out a few small kinks along the way.

“We have had kids out here and there with illness, along with an injury to one of our shooters,” Anderson said. “We will need to limit our turnovers, share the basketball, and play solid defense. If we continue to get better at each of those, we should be able to get to the next level.”