Eskomos enter playoffs minus star centerAlthough admitting her basketball career began later than most of her teammates, Esko senior forward Brooke Schramm now said she and her classmates don’t want it to end.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Although admitting her basketball career began later than most of her teammates, Esko senior forward Brooke Schramm now said she and her classmates don’t want it to end.
Fourth-ranked Esko will look to end third-rated Braham’s four-year reign atop Section 7AA, as the area girls basketball postseason tournaments tipped off earlier this week.
The Eskomos (23-3) are weakened without the presence of 6-foot-9 senior Savanna Trapp, who injured her toe in the team’s win at Cromwell-Wright last Thursday. The UCLA-bound center did not play in Saturday’s 64-58 loss to Duluth East.
Fifth-year Esko Coach Scott Antonutti said Trapp sat for Wednesday’s playoff opener versus Duluth Marshall, and she’ll be re-evaluated early next week and he hopes to see her return to the court soon.
“I’m optimistic she’ll be back,” Antonutti said, noting that a team effort will be needed in the coming weeks. “It’s going to give some of our other kids opportunities to play. I think that’s a positive.”
Senior teammate Marisa Shady is positive her close friend will return soon, but said the team is fully focused.
“Savanna will be fine, she’s tough,” Shady said Tuesday. “But all of us know opposing teams are going to be bringing their best, so we have to bring our best, too. We want to go to State so bad, so all of us are going to be playing as hard as we can to get there.”
“I definitely want it more this year,” Schramm added about her final season. “We have the potential and I think right now everyone in the gym is working hard to give it all that we have.”
Unbeaten Braham (26-0) has advanced to State the last four years, edging Esko the past three seasons. The Bombers’ Rebecca Dahlman, a Vanderbilt signee, is the state’s all-time best scorer with more than 4,800 points, while Esko’s Trapp tops the state’s list in career blocks.
Trapp blocked her way past Moose Lake-Willow River and others this winter, but the Rebels (17-9) shouldn’t be overlooked. Despite leading scorers Adri Jusczak and Shaelyn Halverson battling illness, ML-WR could potentially meet Esko in the semifinals.
“We’d like to have them again,” first-year Rebels Coach Joe Adamczak said Tuesday. “We haven’t put two halves together all season yet, but the girls are positive and lively. We’re in the mix.”
In the Section 7A mix, Cromwell-Wright (13-11) faces Carlton (11-11) Thursday evening in Esko, while Barnum (10-15) and South Ridge (8-17) play afterward. Meanwhile, section low seeds Wrenshall and Fond du Lac Ojibwe were ousted on Tuesday night.
“North Woods and Mountain Iron-Buhl are the clear favorites, but we have a good opportunity here to make the semifinals, but we have to play well,” Cromwell-Wright Coach Jeff Gronner said Tuesday evening, “It’s tournament time – upsets can happen.”
Cloquet nearly upset Hibbing on the road Tuesday, falling 60-57 in overtime, closing the season 14-13, and graduating eight seniors.
“Our girls fought and clawed, it was just one of those games you hate to lose,” Coach Jeff Ojanen said late Tuesday. “But I’m proud of these girls, especially my seniors. They’ve been successful. Winning or losing a playoff game doesn’t change how I feel for them.”