Last week went about as expected for the Ranger basketball boys. The homestanding squad continued its recent dominance of Park with a 72-41 win on Friday and was outgunned in a 77-52 loss to Duluth East on Saturday.
In recent years the latter has been a can’t-miss matchup of section rivals, but with three possible Division I recruits, the ninth-ranked Greyhounds came to Forest Lake as heavy favorites this time.
While Duluth East came into the game on a six-game winning streak, Forest Lake came in without leading scorer Noah Davis. The junior post player hurt his ankle late in the game the night before.
The Rangers came out shooting cold and the Greyhounds rolled to a big early lead. After trailing by 20 at half, Forest Lake closed within 13 only to see the Greyhounds hit three consecutive three-pointers.
“We did a lot of good things and some things that gave us an idea that we could play with them and try to hang with them,” said coach Dan Cremisino. “But we had something go wrong…we didn’t shoot really well.”
Senior Dusty Boyer led the team with 12 points. The Greyhounds got 26 from senior guard Taylor Stafford and 15 from senior forward Johnny Woodard, who became the fourth Greyhound to surpass 2,000 career points.
Rangers 72, Wolfpack 41
Forest Lake picked up its third Suburban East Conference win of the season at Park on Friday. The 29-point rout marked the team’s eighth straight win over the Wolfpack.
The outcome was similar to Forest Lake’s 72-30 win against Park last month, but it came in a different fashion. Whereas the Rangers played zone in the first meeting, this time they played man-to-man and used a full-court press to speed up the pace.
“It’s something we’ve been working on and it was a good time to use it,” said Cremisino. “We wanted to get some baskets off our defense, which we’ve really struggled to do this year.”
Park hung within 13 at halftime, but the Forest Lake lead was never in doubt in the second half. The Rangers shot liberally from three-point range, connecting on 10.
Davis scored a team-high 14 points before leaving with the injury. Sophomore Matt Degendorfer added 13.
Forest Lake (8-12 overall) played at East Ridge on Tuesday, goes to Woodbury on Friday and hosts Stillwater next Tuesday.
Cremisino said the goal is to win enough of the final six games to avoid being seeded into a section play-in game.