The Forest Lake boys’ basketball team lost a tough one, 73-46, last Tuesday to undefeated section opponent St. Francis, but came back determined against Irondale on the road Saturday in a double-overtime victory.
The Rangers struggled against the Fighting Saints to get their offense going and shot 16 of 51 from the floor and just 17 percent from behind the arc— no Forest Lake player scored in double digits. Sophomore Connor Knutson and senior Anthony Tyler led the way with nine points, followed by junior Matt Degendorfer and senior Noah Davis with eight. Senior Brock Baumgartner contributed seven points and five rebounds.
St. Francis, on the other hand, hit 29 of 53 field goals and couldn’t seem to miss, according to Forest Lake head coach Dan Cremisino.
“They shot very well,” Cremisino said. “Our defense wasn’t that great, we did not play well and we did not play strong. All that said, we hung in there okay. That’s one of those games where we just hope to see them again this season.”
Ranger scorers picked it up in Saturday’s 65-61 win at Irondale, with two players recording double-doubles and two more in double-digits on offense. Davis led Forest Lake with 25 points and 13 rebounds, while Knutson recorded 10 points and 10 rebounds. Degendorfer and Tyler each contributed 11 in the 65-61 win.
It was a comeback win for the visiting team— the Rangers were down 33-20 at halftime. The Knights confronted Forest Lake with a zone defense, and effectively halted its penetration game into the second half.
The Knights had a sharp shooter in senior Jack Martinek, who recorded 30 points and seven rebounds for Irondale.
“We got down early, struggled offensively and had a tough time defending Martinek,” Cremisino said. “It seemed they hit every uncontested shot they got.”
But the Rangers picked it up six minutes into the second half, when Davis hit a three-pointer and St. Francis committed a foul away from the ball, giving the ball back to Forest Lake. Degendorfer hit a three, then drained another from long range in the corner to tie the game at 51. Baumgartner and Tyler both hit crucial free throws in overtime to help seal the victory.
“That was a great comeback win that took sheer determination,” Cremisino said. “They need to figure out on offense a little sooner, but there’s something to be said for the way they scratched, clawed, fought and battled their way back in.”
The Rangers now sit at 2-3 overall and opened conference play on Tuesday night at home against No. 5 (Class AAAA) Roseville. The Rangers travel to Cretin-Derham Hall on Friday for a 7:15 p.m. game and then are off until Friday, Jan. 4.