Girls Basketball Roundup: Esko eases past CarltonUsing their powerful full-court press, Esko turned over rival Carlton 75-26 in a Polar League engagement Monday at Carlton High School. Fourth-ranked Esko scored the game’s opening 11 points, promptly controlling the tempo with speed and quickness.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
CARLTON – Using their powerful full-court press, Esko turned over rival Carlton 75-26 in a Polar League engagement Monday at Carlton High School. Fourth-ranked Esko scored the game’s opening 11 points, promptly controlling the tempo with speed and quickness.
“We have the state championship cross country team,” said Esko Coach Scott Antonutti, “so we know we have the horses to put the pressure on teams for the whole game.”
Monday’s game was never a contest. The Eskomos darted to a 44-14 advantage by halftime, only to relieve their pressure in the second and cruise during running time.
“Defense is something that we pride ourselves on,” said Esko senior Marisa Shady. “I wouldn’t say we never get tired, but we have a certain mindset. We rely on each other, work together and always push each other really hard.”
Carlton, like many, had a hard time against Esko’s deadening defensive press. Bulldogs Coach Lisa Johnson took a timeout just 31 seconds into the game, yet a multitude of turnovers followed.
“We haven’t really gotten pressed to this extent – and with this intensity – so it was hard to handle,” Johnson said. “Esko’s good. They have quick hands, quick feet, they can run, and have depth.”
Shady plays with Kallyn Knutson in the Esko backcourt along with Barnum transfer Claudia Turner. Forward Brooke Schramm can also slash the lane, playing inside opposite of UCLA-bound 6-foot-9 superstar center Savanna Trapp. Reserve guards Bailey Mudek and Erika Shady also see ample varsity minutes, relying on their speed.
“That’s what makes us special, we don’t just have one element – we have everything,” Trapp said. “We’ve gotten so much better over the summer and since last year. But all of us girls are so selfless; we all want to contribute to each other’s successes and the team’s successes.”
Trapp led all scorers with 19 points Monday, while Schramm and Shady added 11 and 9, respectively. The Eskomos (7-1) – the three-time defending Section 7AA runners-up to Braham – has now won seven consecutive games since falling in their opener to top-rated Hopkins.
The Bulldogs were tenacious, never giving up the fight.
Brooke Camps carried the Bulldogs with nine points on a string of back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the first half. Camps, a senior, is one of several returnees – including Clarissa Nelson, Tori Zime and Taylor Klassen – to Carlton (1-4), losers of four straight.
“It’s been a slower start than we wanted,” Johnson said. “It’s when we get to games, we just get a little nervous. We’ve done some nice things; we just have to put it together. It’s still December.”
The Eskomos, in the meantime, plan to keep the pressure on their opponents.
“We’ve worked on [our press] throughout the summer,” said Antonutti. “We’re going to try and continue to do it, especially with our depth and our speed. And it’s not going to be a layup with Savanna on the other end.”
Barnum (4-3) is beginning to pick it up, winning three consecutive games, including victories over East Central, Silver Bay and Tuesday night’s 63-34 win over Cook County in Barnum.
Cloquet (3-4) continued its success by tipping host Hermantown 45-37 Tuesday following a drubbing of Deer River last week. The Lumberjacks’ first win of the season came over Two Harbors.
Cromwell-Wright (4-3) has marked back-to-back wins – against Moose Lake-Willow River last Thursday and 77-29 over visiting Silver Bay Tuesday night. The Cardinals also beat Wrenshall and Northland-Remer.
Fond du Lac Ojibwe (1-5) sits with a lone win over Lac Courte Oreilles last week. They most recently fell Monday at Hill City.
Moose Lake-Willow River (4-2) has four early victories, including double-digit wins over Mesabi East, Proctor, Floodwood and Barnum before their latest loss at Cromwell-Wright last Thursday.
South Ridge (2-4) has sunk with back-to-back defeats, including their most recent lopsided loss at nemesis McGregor 75-56 Tuesday.
Wrenshall (1-5) wrangled up its only win in overtime against Duluth Marshall at home last week, and has dropped five of six to start.
FDLTCC (0-10) had to forfeit the team’s only win in program history after the use of an ineligible player discounted a win over Itasca. The Thunder has lost all 10 affairs thus far.