Braham, Esko face off in 7AA finals againThe Eskomos are preparing for their fourth straight Section 7AA girls basketball championship against Braham, when the pair of small-school juggernauts square off at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Romano Gymnasium at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 7.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
DULUTH – Moments after a convincing win over Milaca Tuesday, Savanna Trapp found her little sister, Molly, for a hug.
This time it was the younger Trapp starting at center for Esko.
The Eskomos are preparing for their fourth straight Section 7AA girls basketball championship against Braham, when the pair of small-school juggernauts square off at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Romano Gymnasium at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Tuesday evening’s semifinals saw fourth-ranked Esko (25-3) ease past Milaca 67-26, while the third-ranked Bombers (29-0) – which have won the last five section titles, including three in a row against Esko – buried International Falls 91-30 in running time.
Seeing more time for Esko has been Molly Trapp, relieving sidelined Savanna, who injured her right toe two weeks ago in a runaway victory at Cromwell-Wright.
Molly Trapp scored nine points in Tuesday’s trouncing. Esko Coach Scott Antonutti said his team has adapted nicely.
“Molly has gotten a better feel for the girls around her,” he said. “She’s gained some confidence and the girls have gained some confidence in Molly. It’s just another kid we have to use.”
Molly, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, said she usually substitutes for the 6-foot-9 senior Savanna. Although it took some time, Molly noted that familiarity made the late-season adjustment attainable.
“At first it was a little nerve-racking, I didn’t know if I was ready,” said Molly. “But then the games went on, and now, I think each game we’ve all gotten a little better playing together.
“I feel honored, and just glad I could help her out,” Molly said of Savanna. “Basketball is her love. She enjoys it so much.”
Antonutti revealed that Savanna – the state’s all-time career blocked shots record-holder – warmed up Tuesday for the first time since her injury and is expected to play in Thursday’s final.
“Savanna is a huge part of our team, but Molly has really stepped up to the challenge... everyone has,” said senior Marisa Shady, who scored a game-best 17 points Tuesday, followed by Claudia Turner’s 10. “Losing one player wasn’t a big deal.”
One player who is virtually uncontainable is Braham’s Rebekah Dahlman. The elusive 5-foot-9 guard is the state’s all-time leading scorer. Her game-high 44 points Tuesday added to her 4,932 career total.
“I don’t look at stats,” Dahlman said outside the locker room afterward. “I just keep moving toward what I need to do to get better and focus on how our team can improve to get that ‘W.’”
“She’s in a whole different world,” Braham Coach Tim Malone said of Dahlman, who is headed to Vanderbilt next year. “But she wants nothing more than four more games for her high school career.”