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Esko's Jaxon Turner tried to steal the ball from Hayfield's Drew Streightiff (Jeff Wheeler/Star Tribune photo)
The Vikings had to figure out a way to slow down Kory Deadrick if they wanted an opportunity to win. Once they did, Deadrick’s teammates picked up the slack.
The 6-foot-6 junior forward scored 25 of his game-high 30 points in the first half, helping the Eskomos (27-4) to an eight-point lead. He was 8-for-13 from the floor, including 5-for-7 from three-point range.
“I got in a little bit of a groove in the first half, and my teammates did a good job of getting me open and finding me,” said Deadrick, who came into the game averaging 22.2 points per game. “I only scored three points in the section final, and didn’t want to have another game like that one. I wanted to carry this team as long as I could.”
Hayfield made a defensive switch at the intermission. It moved junior guard Cole Kruger over to take on Deadrick man-to-man. He not only put the clamps on Deadrick, but also tried to rally the Vikings (22-8). Kruger finished with 28 points.
“In the first half, they backed off me a little bit,” Deadrick said. “He played me a lot tighter in the second half.”
Junior forward Casey Staniger picked up the slack in the second half for the Eskomos. He scored 13 of his 15 points after intermission. Junior guard Marc Peterson added 11 points, including three free throws in the final 14 seconds to seal the victory.
“We had some other guys step us in the second half,” Deadrick said. “They couldn’t stop all of us.”
1) Kory Deadrick (Esko)-The 6'5" forward absolutely dominated the first half of play where everything he touched turned into points. He finished the game with 30 points, with 25 of those coming in the first half. He also added seven rebounds in the win.
2) Cole Krueger (Hayfield)-Matched up against Deadrick all night, he failed to keep him in check in the first half. But not only did he help hold Deadrick to only five second half points, he exploded to score 19 of his own to put his total for the game at 28. He did everything he could to help the Vikings come out with a win, including hitting a three-pointer with 15 seconds left to pull the team to within three, but in the end it wasn't enough.
3) Casey Staniger (Esko)-Staniger came up huge in the second half when Deadrick was held in check. He ended up with 15 points, all but two of those coming in the last half. After Hayfield tied the game midway through the second half, Staniger scored the next four points to put the Eskimos back up for good.
Benjamin Bakker MN Basketball Hub