The Rangers came back from a nine-point loss to Stillwater on the road last Tuesday to defeat Hastings, 72-61, on Friday night.
Head coach Dan Cremisino said Friday’s game was interesting since it was a rough shooting night. The Rangers shot 34 percent from the field, but were able to make 11 of 14 from the free throw line.
“It made for a tight game,” Cremisino said. “It just wasn’t a great shooting night. But two guys that really stepped it up to get the win were Taylor Gullikson and Andrew Wright.”
The senior guards both went 5-6 from the field with Gullikson recording 13 points while Wright followed with 10. Ranger scoring was spread, with senior Brock Baumgartner and Davis each shooting for 14 points while junior Matt Degendorfer added 13.
The game remained close and with five minutes left, was tied at 54.
Baumgartner hit a three, followed by another three, this time by Davis, to jumpstart an 18-7 run to close out the Raiders and seal the victory.
In the 81-70 loss to Stillwater last Tuesday, Forest Lake dug an 11-point deficit by halftime that they would not make up. Cremisino said both teams shot well, close to 50 percent in the high-scoring show, but the difference was in second shot opportunities.
“Stillwater played really well,” Cremisino said. “It was a decent game, but the big difference was we were outrebounded.”
The Ponies recorded 18 offensive rebounds to Forest Lake’s seven.
Stillwater also had an advantage in foul shots as it went 16-28 from the line compared to four of 11 for the Rangers.
Leading the Rangers was Davis with a double-double of 24 points and 10 rebounds. Degendorfer followed with 14 points after going 4-8 from beyond the arc. Sophomore Connor Knutson contributed 10 while senior Wyatt Lawson and Baumgartner both had eight points.
Forest Lake faced Mounds View at home on Tuesday night and travels to White Bear Lake at 7:15 p.m. tomorrow, March 1 for the final matchup of the regular season.
Cremisino said this final week is important in order to earn a high section seed. The Rangers are currently seeded second with an overall record of 9-15. The Rangers main competition for the high seeds are Duluth East, Blaine and St. Francis.
“We’re hoping to finish strong this week,” Cremisino said. “We’re going to be playing tough competition and we have to be ready for sections and get both of these games as ammo for that high seed. It’s going to be a battle.”