Team drops three, falls under .500
The Ranger boys’ basketball team dropped all three of its games last week. The skid is just the second of three or more games in the program’s last four seasons, and it has Forest Lake looking to straighten the ship in the heart of conference play.
The Rangers were without senior Tyler Rosenberger for all but 17 seconds last week, and the offense sputtered without his scoring touch. The team averaged just 56 points per game in the three losses.
“We’re used to living in the 70s and 80s, so this is difficult,” said coach Dan Cremisino.
Technically, the Rangers were alive well into each game.
The latest loss came at the hands of Woodbury here on Friday. The Royals won 85-65 to remain unbeaten at 6-0 in the Suburban East Conference. Ricky Suggs scored 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting. He added seven rebounds and three steals.
“We had one chance and that was to make them try to score in the halfcourt and keep them from running out on us,” Cremisino said.
Forest Lake did that for the first 14 or so minutes and led until the Royals went on a 14-2 run late in the first half.
Once down in the second half, the Rangers were forced to come out of their 1-3-1 defense and the Royals expanded the lead against the man-to-man.
Anthony Tyler scored a career-high 20 points to lead Forest Lake.
“He runs the floor well, he moves on offense and he gets a lot of paint points because he’s active,” Cremisino said of the junior forward.
A late comeback was not enough to lift the Rangers the night before in Blaine. Bengal sharpshooter Tanner Schumacher hit four three-pointers and Forest Lake made only four field goals in the first half as the hosts built a 15-point lead by the break.
The Rangers clawed within six points with 58 seconds left before falling 59-50. They went 2-16 from beyond the arc. Tyler again had 20 points, including 12 free throws.
“We’re not matching up with real athletic teams really well,” Cremisino said. “We have to try to cheat a bit and zone.”
In last Tuesday’s home game against East Ridge, Forest Lake jumped out to a 19-4 lead but saw it whittled to three before the half ended.
The Rangers again extended the lead to double digits, but failed to score in the final several minutes of regulation.
“There’s a lot of guys playing crunch-time varsity minutes who haven’t played in that position before, and it’s a transition,” Cremisino said.
The Raptors hit two quick three-pointers in overtime, but Forest Lake came back to tie the game at 54 on a bucket by Jackson McDowell.
East Ridge hit a 15-foot jumper at the buzzer to earn the win.
McDowell led the team with 12 points. Rosenberger left with an ankle injury on the game’s first possession.
Forest Lake played at Stillwater this Tuesday and travels to Hastings on Friday.
The boys host Mounds View next Tuesday. Mustang coach Ziggy Kauls will be honored during his final game in Forest Lake.
The Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame coach graduated from high school here in 1959 after his family came from Latvia in his youth. He took the Mounds View coaching job in 1967 and has won over 700 games along with two state titles.