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Updated: Eskomos win, move to state semifinals

MINNEAPOLIS -- Playing on the historic two-foot raised floor at Williams Arena for the first time in his high school boys basketball career, Esko's Kory Deadrick raised his team even higher.

Winners
Esko's Kory Deadrick salutes the crowd as he and teammate Casey Staniger celebrate Esko's 60-54 win over Hayfield in the Class AA Quarterfinals at Williams Arena in Minneapolis. Deadrick finished the game with 30 points, 25 scored in the first half, and Staniger finished with 15. Dave Harwig/Pine Journal

MINNEAPOLIS -- Playing on the historic two-foot raised floor at Williams Arena for the first time in his high school boys basketball career, Esko's Kory Deadrick raised his team even higher.

Deadrick, an elusive 6-foot-5 junior forward, scored a game-best 30 points to elevate the unseeded Eskomos past third-rated Hayfield 60-54 in a Minnesota Class AA state quarterfinal Wednesday night at the University of Minnesota's illustrious 85-year-old venue.

"It's always been a dream for me and the team to get down here," said Deadrick, who had five three-pointers Wednesday following his three points Saturday in Esko's 64-63 buzzer-beating section final win over Mora. "Tonight, my teammates got me open and I got in a rhythm."

Deadrick, a 1,000-plus-point scorer on pace to set the school's all-time scoring record, had 25 first-half points Wednesday, including the opening 11 to propel Esko (27-4) to a 35-27 halftime lead.

Hayfield standout guard Cole Kruger finished with 28 points, but more notably slowed Deadrick in the second, as the Vikings (22-8) tied the game on a Kruger free-throw with 6:06 left and had the game within a possession in the final seconds, before the Eskomos hit free-throws late.

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Esko's Casey Staniger and Marc Peterson added 15 and 11 points.

The Eskomos, in their third-ever state appearance along with trips in 2003 and 1955, now move to play second-seeded Litchfield (25-5) Friday at 8 p.m. at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

Deadrick said he's ready.

"There was great arch on his shots tonight," added longtime Esko Coach Mike Devney afterward. "I think he was a little determined."

Esko: 35-25--60

Hayfield: 27-27--54

Esko -- Marc Peterson 3-12 3-4 11, Casey Staniger 5-10 4-6 15, Bobby Wright 0-0 2-2 2, Ben Hanson 0-2 0-0 0, Kory Deadrick 10-18 5-7 30, Jaxson Turner 1-1 0-3 2, Nate Johnson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-43 14-22 60.

3-point goals -- Deadrick 5-9, Peterson 2-7, Staniger 1-5, Hanson 0-1.

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Hayfield -- Cole Kruger 9-17 8-10 28, Trevor Anderson 1-8 0-0 3, Brady Stevens 2-2 0-0 4, Jeremy Stuart 6-8 1-3 13, Brady Kramer 2-11 0-0 4, Logan Adams 0-0 0-0 0, Jason Born 0-0 0-0 0, Merrick Ducharme 0-0 2-2 2, Drew Streightiff 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 20-48 11-15 54.

3-point goals -- Kruger 2-7, Anderson 1-7, Kramer 0-4, Streightiff 0-2.

Sendoff
The Esko boys basketball team ran through the halls of the high school before they left for Wednesday's game at the University of Minnesota's Williams arena. Photo by Beth Menor

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