Following a three-game winning streak on the road, the Ranger basketball boys hosted two games at home last week, against East Ridge and No. 5 Woodbury. Forest Lake lost both contests in the final minutes.
In the 81-78 loss to the Royals on Thursday, the Rangers had a five-point lead with about 40 seconds to go. Head coach Dan Cremisino chalked up the loss to another case of the opposing team hitting long shots late in the game, and Forest Lake not being able to answer.
“We’re just not finishing,” Cremisino said. “It’s tough to lose time after time in the last possession when we’ve been playing pretty well against some tough teams.”
Senior Noah Davis racked up an impressive 31 points against the Suburban East Conference leader. Junior Matt Degendorfer had 11 points and seniors Anthony Tyler and Brock Baumgartner recorded 10 apiece.
The team had just suffered a heartbreak two nights before against the Raptors, when Forest Lake had a four-point lead with 30 seconds to go, but lost it with turnovers and East Ridge hitting some big shots to send the game into overtime. The Rangers couldn’t hold on for the win.
And again, the loss came despite a huge effort on the part of Davis. He scored 36, followed by Baumgartner with 16 and sophomore Connor Knutson and senior Taylor Gullikson with six each.
“So far, no one has been able to stop Noah, he’s definitely an elite scorer,” Cremisino said. “Brock, Connor, Anthony, Matt, really the whole team is doing a good job, we just can’t get the ball to bounce our way in the last few possessions.”
In 12 of the Rangers 20 games, Forest Lake has been within 10 points at the close of the game. Since mid-January, seven of those 12 have been just two-possession ball games (within six points).
Forest Lake has also won three and lost four of its past seven games during the last possession of the ball game as nailbiters continue to be the trend.
The Rangers traveled to Stillwater on Tuesday night, and travel to Hastings for a 7:15 p.m. game on Friday.