Rangers Rally to defeat State Curse

Prologue
To Elk River with good friend The Caveman for the 7AAAA final between Duluth East and Forest Lake.  Forest Lake with difficult losses to Cambridge-Isanti and Blaine the last 2 years in this game.   Duluth crowd eventually shows up and a very nice crowd from Forest Lake for this one.  No band which is a disappointment and due to the NCAAs, another day with no food.  I'll take Houlihan's in Maple Grove on the way there instead.

Game Time
We get Zach Riedeman vs Johnny Woodard in the expected premier matchup of small forwards.  5-4 East before they open it up with an 11-2 run.  2 putbacks, Nick Toland with a jump hook, soph Taylor Stafford with a pull up jumper and Dyami Starks to Woodard for 3.  Timeout Forest Lake down 16-6 at the 12:37 mark.  Enough man to man for the Rangers as they come out of the timeout with 1-3-1 for the rest of the night.  Forest Lake not all that active in the zone and missing layups to boot.  Woodard off an inbounds for 2 and the 2nd foul on Riedeman.  23-10 Duluth East with 8:20 in the half.  After a break, Riedeman is back in and he finishes off a 12-4 Forest Lake run with a 3 point play at the 4:34 mark.  27-22 Duluth East still on top.  8-2 Duluth East finishes the half thanks to a step thru 3 by Starks and Woodard beating the halftime buzzer with a 3 point play.  Starks sits the last 3:14 with 3 fouls.  35-24 Duluth East at the half.

Starks stays on the bench to start the second half as it would be a disaster if he got a quick 4th foul.  He doesn't sit long as only 2 minutes pass before he gets up and comes in.  39-29 Duluth East.  Riedeman with a tough first half but trying to take over in the second half.  He goes coast to coast for 2.  Doug Sewall backdoor for a pretty 2.  Then Riedeman for 2 and a pair of assists.  On the first he takes a turnover and throws a lob that Sam Miller converts and then he finds Tyler Bey for a big 3.  No timeout from Duluth East and Phil Hegseth knocks down a jumper and the Forest Lake crowd is going nuts.  44-40 Forest Lake on top after a 15-1 run.  10:40 left to play.  Woodard with a layup and then 2 steals for 4 free throws to put East up 46-44 and stop the bleeding with 10 minutes left.  To this point, Forest Lake not getting a call going to the rim.  Forest Lake fans rightfully not happy with that.  Toland continuing his big game inside for the Greyhounds as he was all over the offensive glass in this one.  His tip ties the game at 52 with 5:40 left.  54 all when Duluth East turns it over.  Woodard gambles for a backcourt steal to get the ball back.  No dice and Riedeman makes him pay by finding Miller for a 3 point play.  Then Miller with a putback for another +1.  60-55 Forest Lake with 3:30 left and Duluth East takes a timeout.  Starks lets a defender fly by and off 1 bounce knocks down a 3 and then another to sandwich a tough bank by Riedeman.  62-61 Forest Lake with 2:18 left.  The teams trade turnovers.  Then Forest Lake goes inside out and Phil Hegseth buries a clutch straight away 3 with 1:18 left.  65-61 Rangers lead.  Starks misses and the teams trade turnovers.  Off a full court inbounds, Riedeman sets a vertical screen to bring a guard to the ball and takes off the other way for the touchdown with 50 seconds left.  That pushes the lead to 6.  Hegseth and Riedeman make 4 last free throws for a 71-64 Forest Lake win.

For Duluth East, Johnny Woodard with 13 of his 22 in the first half to lead the Greyhounds.  I also had him for 6 rebounds.  Dyami Starks 7-22 for 19 points (4-16 in the second half).  Nick Toland 15 points and he was all over the offensive glass.  Duluth East finishes the season 20-9.

For Forest Lake, Doug Sewall leads them in scoring with 20 points.  Consistent with 10 in each half.  I also had him for 11 rebounds.  Zach Riedeman with a rough 1st half of 3 points on 1-7 action as he was pressing a bit.  Big second half though.  16 of his 19 total points come in that second half along with 4 assists in the half.  7-10 shooting in the second half after the rough start.  6 total rebounds on my sheet.  Sam Miller finishes with 13 points including a pair of critical 3 point plays late. 

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