10-year reunion: Eskomos enter state tournamentThe Esko boys basketball players ran through school hallways packed with students during the Wednesday morning send-off — much like they ran into this week’s state tournament.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
The Esko boys basketball players ran through school hallways packed with students during the Wednesday morning send-off — much like they ran into this week’s state tournament.
The Eskomos (26-4) are making their third state appearance (and first since 2003) in the 100 years of the event.
It’s been an exciting run so far. The Eskomos escaped Mora 64-63 in the Section 7AA championship Saturday on freshman reserve Jaxson Turner’s three-pointer from the top of the key as the buzzer sounded. While the win allowed Esko to storm the court afterward, the Mustangs were denied their first state trip in 55 years.
Wednesday, as this edition of the Pine Journal went to press, Esko engaged with Hayfield (22-7) in a Class AA quarterfinal at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. A win would put the Polar League school in Friday’s semifinals at 8 p.m. and potentially, Saturday’s 2 p.m. championship. Both are scheduled at the nearby Target Center.
Unseeded Esko is led by scoring standouts Kory Deadrick, Casey Staniger and Marc Peterson — who boast a combined 208 three-pointers — along with fellow starters Ben Hanson and Bobby Wright.
Perhaps the biggest bonus this week is the fact that none of the top-five ranked teams in the final Minnesota Basketball News poll qualified for the tournament, making Class AA a wide open race.
“It is wide open,” said longtime Esko Coach Mike Devney of the field. “But we’ll have to bring our ‘A’ game to advance.”