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‘Old Jake’s Skirts’ adds a second encore performance to raise money for festival

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The Esko girls celebrate their Section 7AA championship win as the Esko boys — crowned Class AA State Champions that afternoon — flood the court to join in the celebration. Esko won 38-32 over Barnum at Saturday night’s title game held at Romano Gym on the UMD campus. Matthew E. Moses/Pine Journal

Two times the champions in Esko

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“Esko’s Corner” is an enormous 387-page hardcover history book of the small Carlton County community.

They’d better add pages 388 and 389 following one special Saturday.

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On that momentous day — March 15, 2014 — the Esko girls basketball team won the Section 7AA title over rival Barnum at Romano Gymnasium in Duluth, just hours after the Esko boys became the school’s first-ever state basketball champions, winning the Class AA crown over Annandale at Target Center in Minneapolis.

Likely the center of many scrapbooks in the future, both teams posed for photos together at Romano after cramming the court to celebrate perhaps a tiny town’s proudest day in high school sports.

Although the first northeastern Minnesota school to bring a state basketball championship back home since Chisholm claimed the Class A crown in 1991, the Esko boys didn’t take much time to savor their triumph. Esko boys Coach Mike Devney admitted they “rushed back” on their bus to cheer their girls on to state for a 10th time in school history, including their first trip since 2007.

“I’d say day number one is the greatest day being an Eskomo,” added girls Coach Scott Antonutti earlier this week. “It’s something special that these kids will remember for many, many years.”

Those kids were greeted Sunday at the school cafeteria with a community-wide gathering to celebrate their athletic achievements.

And, obviously, their own chapter in “Esko’s Corner.”

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