Cromwell-Wright claws back against Ely


March 10, 2023

A furious second-half comeback Tuesday helped send Cromwell-Wright into the Section 7A championship game against Mt. Iron-Buhl Friday in Hibbing.

Cromwell-Wright and Ely entered the Section 7A semifinal with nearly identical records. The Cardinals were seeded No. 2 with a record of 23-5 and Ely was seeded No. 3 and sported a record of 23-4. The entire game was tight and the Timberwolves threw a scare into the Cards in the second half.

Trailing by 21-20 at halftime, the Timberwolves came out of the gates in the second half on fire. Ely eventually built a seven-point lead, at which point Cromwell-Wright coach Jeff Gronner called a timeout.

“I kind of laid into them a little bit,” Gronner said. “I told them we are not focused, we are making too many mental mistakes and we have to get back after it.”

With 10 minutes, 40 seconds remaining, Cromwell-Wright trailed 34-27, but things were about to change. The comeback started when Bryanna Foster scored a bucket and was fouled while shooting. She made the free throw as well, cutting the gap to 34-30. That seemed to inspire her teammates, who then got their first 3-point basket of the game from Marissa Dahl, which pulled them at 34-33.

“That was a huge part of the game,” said Gronner. “It all started with our defense, and once we scored on those possessions, things really turned our way.”

Things really started happening when Isabella Anderson followed with a layup, before Sascha Korpela slashed to the basket for another score, and then Siiena Anderson scored. Suddenly, the Cards were on a 12-0 run and leading 39-34.

After Hannah Pence cut the gap to 39-37, the Cardinals launched a barrage of baskets from just about every player on the floor as they pulled away to win by 10 points.

“We wore them down near the end of the game,” Gronner said. “Their legs weren’t there and they missed some shots. We go a little deeper on the bench and it helped us.”

For the game, Sascha Korpela led the Cards with 14 points, Siiena Anderson had 13, Isabella Anderson added 11 and Bryanna Foster had seven. Both Emaleigh Olesiak and Marissa Dahl scored three points and Jill Anderson finished with two.

All game long the Cards struggled to stop Grace LaTourrel, who led all scorers with 20 points for the Timberwolves.

“LaTourrel is a good player and has a quick release, which makes her tough to defend,” Gronner said.

Cromwell-Wright had plenty of good chances in the first half, but they struggled to make easy shots under the basket. That is something they’ll need to clean up if they plan on taking down No. 1 Mt. Iron-Buhl in Friday’s championship game.

“That’s kind of who we are,” said Gronner. “If we can clean that up, we can make it a tough game. I am proud of how the girls responded when we got down in the second. It shows a lot about their character.”

The win improves the Cardinals record to 24-5. They travel to Hibbing to play the Rangers Friday’s with a place in the state tournament on the line.

“We’ll need to play our best game of the season,” Gronner said.


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