Ranger boys close season at Blaine

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The fifth-seeded Forest Lake boys basketball team traveled to face fourth-seeded Blaine in the opening round of the Section 7AAAA tournament last Thursday night.

At the start of the season, the Rangers beat Blaine, 87-58, but Blaine was without strong senior scorer Jason Travis. The second contest against the Bengals was not as fun, as Forest Lake’s season came to an end by way of a 95-75 loss.

Senior guard Jake Lemke attacks the Blaine defense during last week’s opening-round loss in the Section 7 tournament. Photo by TLC Digital Images

Senior guard Jake Lemke attacks the Blaine defense during last week’s opening-round loss in the Section 7 tournament. Photo by TLC Digital Images

Forest Lake head coach Dan Cremisino said he knew his boys needed to play tough defense in the rematch.

“We had to try to limit their possessions,” he said. “We did that really well at first. We came out trying to pass up on good shots for great shots.”

The Rangers led 6-4 in the opening minutes before the Bengals went on a 14-0 run.

“Once the game sped up, it was in their favor,” Cremisino said.

Blaine led 35-22 at halftime, and pulled further away despite Forest Lake putting up 53 points in the second half.

During the home team’s 60-point second half, Travis broke Blaine’s single-game scoring record. He tallied 47 points, and shot 5-13 from 3-point land.

“Five of 13 is acceptable, but where he hurt us was out of the zone,” Cremisino said. “He took control in the open court, off steals, off rebounds and when we had to go man, we scrambled. The player that we were counting on was Skyler Winning, but he got sick that day—he’s a good matchup length-wise in both zone and man, and is a good voice to remind players what the game plan is.”

Senior Matt Degendorfer made his way into the Forest Lake record book with the program’s third-highest single-game point total of 38 in his final high school game. The guard also makes the list as second in career 3-pointers at 171. Phil Hegseth, a 2011 grad, holds the record at 172.

“The most impressive thing about Matt is that he didn’t want the season or his career to end,” Cremisino said. “He did everything he possibly could to keep us in that game—did his best and made some pretty unbelievable shots.”

Junior Connor Knutson and sophomore Noah Alm each recorded eight points, while junior Brent Kinder added seven points.
The Rangers went 7-20 this season, averaging 67 points per game while allowing 73 points.

“The thing that plagued us is we didn’t get enough stops all year,” Cremisino said. “We scored enough points every game all year to win, we just couldn’t get the stops we needed.”

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