"Top to bottom, it's one of the nicest groups I've ever had," said Haugen. "I have 11 or 12 varsity guys that I can move around and not miss a beat."
> "It was their first time in a varsity tennis match," said Johnson of his talented tandem. Also in doubles, No. 2 Bryan Broten and Drew Doesken won the closest match of the evening in the tiebreak after being down late. No. 3 Ryan Fredrickson and Cal Pertler also prevailed in three sets. "All in all, I was really impressed," added Johnson. "It was a good feeling, not only for the coaches, but the kids, too.
However, in describing Esko's crowded event — against Duluth East this past February — along with a hallway streamed with "Wall of Hope" cards, Rengo said it's not all about the money, but the awareness and the stories. "You just sit back and look at all of the people, kids and the impact it makes," Rengo said. "It's been everything we've hoped it to be — just fantastic. It's even better than I envisioned."
That's speaking of senior twin sisters Marnie and Maddie Wagner, who scored 15 and 14 points. The Wagner family name has been customary in the small communities near the Iowa border for quite some time now. While both Marnie and Maddie are the current NRHEG nucleus, their older sister Carlie is a standout at the University of Minnesota, now in her junior season.
And in their opening-round rout of Red Lake last Thursday, Cromwell-Wright tied a state tournament single-game record by making a baker's dozen worth of triples. Their 29 total long balls in this year's three state playoff games also equaled a state tournament best of any school all time. "We always have the green light," said freshman Taya Hakamaki, who sank the deep left-wing shot in front of her team's bench against Red Lake to give the Cardinals the most 3-pointers of any prep team ever.
Tyler Ojibway and his classmates have been playing basketball together since their first days of kindergarten in Carlton. Now a long 6-foot-2 standout, Ojibway leads the closely-knit pack of Bulldogs. The gifted right-hander even scored his 1,000th point earlier this winter in a game against McGregor.
MINNEAPOLIS — What a difference a day makes. Thursday night, Jeff Gronner watched his Cromwell-Wright girls basketball team shoot to a single-game state tournament record when his Cardinals canned 13 3-pointers in a state quarterfinal win over Red Lake. The next afternoon however, on St. Patrick’s Day nonetheless, Gronner’s girls caught no luck.
The fifth-seeded Eskomos, which fell to NLS 48-43 Wednesday at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, were behind again Thursday to the Panthers, but overcame a 23-21 halftime deficit and looked in control late when sophomore Macy Sunnarborg sank one of her two 3-pointers to extend their lead to 42-36 with 8:17 remaining.
MINNEAPOLIS — Home to the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers men’s hockey team, Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis can be an uneasy place to shoot a basketball. Cromwell-Wright demonstrated that a season ago, when their girls basketball program advanced to their first state tournament in 12 years by making 317 3-pointers on their way southbound. At Mariucci, however, they were 7-of-28 from beyond the arc — or just 25 percent.
NLS expanded their lead to 30-22 just over a minute into the second frame, but still, the Eskomos never went away.