Boys Basketball Roundup...News about Barnum, Esko and other area teamsA strong performance by Esko's Kory Deadrick elevated the Eskomos past host Barnum 63-46 last Friday in a marquee matchup for Polar League supremacy. “
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
BARNUM – Burying his 10th basket of the night on a three-pointer from the right corner early in last week’s second half, Esko’s Kory Deadrick cracked a smile that ran from ear to ear.
“This is why I play,” said Deadrick, who seemingly couldn’t miss in collecting his game-leading 36 points and 14 rebounds to elevate the Eskomos past host Barnum 63-46 last Friday in a marquee matchup for Polar League supremacy. “Basketball is my favorite sport. And tonight was one of the most fun games I’ve ever played.”
Deadrick has played his favorite sport since he was young, growing up in basketball family. His parents, Shane and Lynn, and sisters, Kayla and Keely, all played prior to Kory. The Esko junior is continuing the tradition with a vengeance.
Deadrick, a varsity veteran now, leads the Eskomos (19-4) in both scoring and rebounding, averaging more than 23 points and 11-plus rebounds per night, while shooting over 50 percent on nearly 400 shots in the 23 games he has started this winter.
“There have been some great players who have come through here, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a junior put up numbers like this,” said Esko Coach Mike Devney, now in his 14th season. “He’s impressive; he’s a strong kid – and he’s got those long arms.”
Last week, the lanky 6-foot-5, 175-pound forward scored his team’s opening 10 points, including 20 of 32 first-half points in pacing Esko their 25th straight Polar League win dating back to 2011.
Deadrick said he’s added about 15 pounds from last summer.
“If you put a little guy on him, we’ll bring him inside, and you put a bigger guy on him, he can hit the three,” Devney said. “He creates such mismatches for the opposing team; it’s really like nightmares for coaches. I sure wouldn’t like to defend him.”
“He’s just a great all-around player,” added Esko senior teammate Ben Hanson after the game. “He’s a huge gym rat.”
In Barnum’s gym, the Bombers (19-3) led much of the first half of last week’s physical affair, but a field goal in the paint by Esko’s Nate Johnson gave Esko a 19-17 advantage they never relinquished.
Johnson finished with 11 points for Esko, while Casey Staniger added 14. Barnum was paced by Brandon Newman’s 15, Daniel Warpula’s 12 and Zach Carlson’s 10, despite having no players 6-feet tall, according to longtime Coach Rich Newman.
“Esko is good, they are, but I couldn’t be more proud of my group of kids,” Newman said. “If you line up our five on the court, take a look at what we have and see how many wins these boys have put up – that’s saying something about their heart.”
“We just have to learn from it and prepare for the next one,” Warpula said. “[Esko] is good, but we could have played better. And our tallest guy couldn’t even reach [Deadrick’s] head.”
“I had some nice touch shots fall early, and then I hit a couple threes,” Deadrick added. “This was fun – the atmosphere, the fans, the refs. They made big calls, so you have to make big plays.”
Followed by his big smile.
Carlton (9-12) cradled a 57-44 win over Polar League host Two Harbors Tuesday, the second for the Bulldogs this winter.
Cloquet (14-9) clubbed Duluth Marshall 97-58 on the road Tuesday in a Lake Superior Conference game. The win marked the Lumberjacks’ fifth victory in last half a dozen tries.
Cromwell-Wright (8-11) remains inconsistent, as the Cardinals fell at Polar League rival Floodwood 74-52 Tuesday in their second defeat to their arch nemesis Polar Bears this season.
Fond du Lac Ojibwe (14-7) overcame host Bigfork 78-70 Tuesday. The Ogichidaa have now won eight of their last nine.
Moose Lake-Willow River (15-8) ran past Pine City 73-32 on the road Saturday afternoon, as the Rebels regained their step.
South Ridge (12-7) rattled off back-to-back victories lately, edging Mountain Iron-Buhl 72-66 Tuesday evening in Culver.
Wrenshall (7-12) was whacked by Polar League visitor Cook County 54-40 last Friday on co-homecoming night with the girls. The Wrens boys have now dropped three in a row.
FDLTCC (5-20) found a fifth straight loss, as the Thunder was tipped at league foe Itasca 64-59 Saturday in Grand Rapids.