Girls Basketball Roundup...News about Esko and other area schoolsSuperior sneaks past Esko
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Claudia Turner drained a free throw for her 1,000th career point Monday night, but not even the Esko senior remembered exactly when the milestone basket occurred.
Rather, her mind was set on the team score.
Turner scored a game-leading 21 points on a night of milestones for the Eskomos, but it wasn’t enough in a thrilling 65-63 double-overtime loss to Superior before an estimated 700 spectators at the crowded event across the bridge.
“I was happy to get my 1,000th, but I would have much rather gotten a win!” Turner said. “We went in there hoping to walk out with a victory, but in the end, we just couldn’t pull it off. It was definitely a disappointing loss.”
Neither team loses often. Superior, rated fifth in Wisconsin Division I, has 16 wins and only one loss to Eden Prairie. Esko, meanwhile, is Minnesota’s third-ranked team in Class AA. The loss to Superior snapped their previous 18-game win streak and marked just their second blemish since Hopkins on Nov. 29.
Monday’s premiere matchup moved quickly, with Esko (18-2) leading at halftime, as well as 40-32 late in the second half before the Spartans scored the final eight points.
The Eskomos later forced overtime on Kallyn Knutson’s buzzer-beating three-pointer, while a Turner free throw made a second extra session. Spartan Jessica Lindstrom’s triple from the corner opened a double-overtime and Superior survived, now a perfect 5-for-5 in games decided by five points or less.
“Our kids are really battle-tested,” said Superior Coach Phil Roe. “I would put Esko up there with some of the best teams that we’ve played this year, but our girls played hard.”
“This year we have a lot more team work and team chemistry; we work well together,” Lindstrom told the Duluth News Tribune. Lindstrom scored 21 points for the Spartans.
Esko superstar Savanna Trapp, a 6-foot-9 UCLA-bound center, was also in early foul trouble, despite scoring 16 points and blocking four shots to surpass Lakeville North’s Cassie Rochel as the state’s all-time career leader with 645 blocked shots.
Yet, like Turner, a victory would have been more meaningful to Trapp.
“Getting the block record was an accomplishment, but we wanted a win,” Trapp said. “I think playing in a game like this was good for us. We’ll remember this one for quite a while.”
“We haven’t had a game like that all season,” added Esko Coach Scott Antonutti. “Our girls played hard, persevered and battled all night. We had plenty of opportunities to win it. We weren’t able to seal the deal, but I know they’ll bounce back.”
Cloquet (10-11) couldn’t keep up with Grand Rapids for a second time this winter and were defeated 40-29 on the road Tuesday, ending previous back-to-back victories.
Cromwell-Wright (11-8) won again – their second straight – when they crept past Polar League foe Floodwood 65-60 Tuesday in Cromwell, avenging an earlier loss to their rivals.
Fond du Lac Ojibwe (4-8) outlasted several of their opponents recently this season, including a total of four wins. Monday, however, host Silver Bay blasted the young Ogichidaa 74-32.
Moose Lake-Willow River (15-6) ripped past host Hinckley-Finlayson 60-43 Tuesday for a second straight victory.
South Ridge (5-13) relinquished their previous nine-game losing streak, as the Panthers topped Two Harbors 59-40 Tuesday in Culver. It was South Ridge’s first win since Dec. 28.
Wrenshall (1-16) was whacked again last Friday when the Wrens ¬– losers of a dozen straight – fell 74-42 at Hill City.
FDLTCC (0-18) has canceled the rest of its collegiate women’s basketball season. Struggling with injuries, illness and depth, the Thunder lost all 18 games, including six forfeitures.