Boys Basketball Roundup-Eskomos gaining weight...and winsForgoing football, seeing past soccer and cross county running, Esko’s Kory Deadrick didn’t play a sport this past fall season. Rather, he prepared for his favorite activity, basketball, in the weight room.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Forgoing football, seeing past soccer and cross county running, Esko’s Kory Deadrick didn’t play a sport this past fall season.
Rather, he prepared for his favorite activity, basketball, in the weight room.
Deadrick – a deadly 6-foot-6 shooter who also drives to the hoop – spent the entire summer and all fall strengthening his muscles and upping his weight. Monday, the junior forward said he weighs 170 pounds, 15 more than he did last varsity season, making him even more of a threat.
“I know a lot of us guys put on 10 to 15 pounds in the offseason, just playing in the gym, working in the weight room and running, too,” Deadrick said. “I’d say a lot of us are in much better shape, especially me. I admit, I was clumsy, but I have worked my calves to get a quick first step.”
Deadrick led all scorers with 19 points and a game-best 14 rebounds in a 57-42 win over International Falls for the Esko Coaches Classic Holiday Tournament title last Friday in Esko.
Deadrick, who also netted a weekend-high 31 points in Esko’s 68-49 victory over Northwestern Thursday, was unanimously named the event’s Most Valuable Player. The third-year varsity player currently leads Esko (9-1) with more than 23 points and 10 rebounds per game for a team that has now won nine straight since dropping its opener at Hermantown.
“For the first third of the season, I think we’ve done quite well,” said Esko Coach Mike Devney, now in his 14th year at the Polar League school. “Playing basketball in Minnesota, it’s always going to be physical. We’ve adapted, but I think [Hermantown] was still a little physical for us.”
Physicality is what brought Esko into the weight room, Devney noted. Following an 81-73 loss to state power Braham in last year’s Section 7AA final, Devney reminded his players to up their offseason training habits.
Of those players, starters Deadrick, Marc Peterson and Casey Staniger return, along with experienced posts Bobby Wright and Ben Hanson. Freshman guard Jaxson Turner, a transfer from Barnum, has also seen plenty of time.
“We’re all a year older, a year taller and another year improved,” Deadrick said. “We’ve won nine in a row and are getting in a rhythm.”
Peterson, a 6-foot-2 guard, also weighs eight pounds more this winter.
“I’ve been in the weight room a lot for football, too,” said Peterson, an All-Tournament honoree last week, finishing with 18 and 15 points, respectively. “We were really busy this summer. We played at UMD, Minnesota, St. Cloud and our alumni. Most of us take 500 shots a day.”
Barnum (8-1) has also shot off to a fast start, with the team’s only loss received from Braham. One of the few schools not to play in a holiday event, the Bombers recently topped Two Harbors and Pine River-Backus over break.
Traditionally, Barnum is smaller, yet can shoot from outside. Bringing back starting guards Danny Warpula and Brandon Newman from last season’s Section 5A runners-up to Browerville at the buzzer, the Bombers also look to Zachary Carlson and quartet of balanced posts inside.
“We’re pretty small, but we’re playing pretty good defense and shooting the ball well,” said Coach Rich Newman, in his 16th year. “We have a ton to work on, but hopefully we’ll be there again in the end.”
Fond du Lac Ojibwe (4-4) was there in the end during last year’s Section 7A semifinal loss to North Woods in overtime. The Ogichidaa has been up and down this year, according to Coach Earl Otis, but won the Proctor Holiday Invitational defeating Proctor and North Lakes Academy.
Led by lone returnees Bruce Martineau and Trevontae Brown, FDL fields incoming brothers Davonte and Lester Williamson from Superior.
“Davonte is hard to stop, but each has fit in real nicely,” Otis said. “We’re a fast-paced, run-and-gun team and, actually, [we’re] quicker than last year.”