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Esko girls take title in home tourney

The Esko girls basketball team parlayed solid defensive performances into a championship at the 43rd annual Coaches Classic in Esko last week.

In the opening game of the two-day tournament Dec. 26, Esko had to deal with a distinct height disadvantage to beat Foley, 65-41.

"They have a legit 6-foot-3 player that we had to deal with in the paint," said Esko coach Sue Northey. "We shot poorly to start the game, but got better in the second half. Our defense kept us in the game in that first half."

Esko was tied with the Falcons late in the first half when Esko made the front-end of a 1-and-1 free throw and then got a rebound put-back bucket to stake themselves to a 29-26 lead at


The second half was all Esko as they outscored the Falcons 36-14. Eight players scored for Esko, which was led by Cairin Berger with 17 points and Hannah Swanson with 12. Also scoring for Esko were Erin Pettyjohn with 9 points, Kaitlyn McConnell and Kyra Johnson with 8 each, plus Kaelyn Foxx (5), Cadence Berger (4), and Kallie Sinnott (2).

Esko wrapped up the title by downing Bloomington Kennedy, 65-43, on Dec. 27, as Esko faced another tall lineup.

"We just played well from the start and we scored better in the first half," Northey said. "Cairin Berger had a big first half with 15 points, and that really got us going."

Berger and Hannah Swanson led Esko with 19 points each in the game. Kyra Johnson added 11 points and Pettyjohn scored 8 points. Cadence Berger chipped in 4 points while Clara Swanson and Kallie Sinnott scored 2 each.

"We have had good balance in our scoring all season," Northey said. "This is one of the most unselfish teams I've ever coached, and that is what gives us such good scoring balance."

The win improved Esko's record to 6-4 on the season.