Pine River-Backus was defeated 74-36 by the host Crosby-Ironton Rangers on Tuesday, Feb. 12. The game remained close early on, but became a blowout during the second half.
The Rangers started the game with a long-range basket for three points to take an early lead. C-I didn’t stop there, scoring the first seven points of the game on a fast break layup and another basket inside on an offensive rebound before PR-B made their first basket of the night.
The Rangers tried to pressure the Tigers in the half court early in the game, which usually proved unsuccessful, as PR-B would spread out and find the open player. The half court pressure led to the first points of the game for the visitors, with the pressure, the Tigers quickly moved the ball, finding sophomore, Henry Krecklau open as he cut to the basket for a basket.
The Tigers played C-I tough in the first half, seldom giving the Rangers an easy basket. Midway through the first half, the Rangers were forced to get five baskets in a row from the free throw line, as the Tigers fouled the C-I players in an attempt to contest the Rangers in the lane.
The Tigers started to climb back into the game. C-I was applying full court pressure whenever the Tigers inbounded the ball. PR-B didn’t succumb to the pressure, staying spread and making passes to the open player, and eventually finding freshmen, Zach Struss open under the basket. Struss made another basket in the Tigers' following possession to keep the game close.
The rest of the first half went in favor of the home team, as the Rangers were able to take a comfortable lead into the locker room, up by a margin on 33-18.
The Tigers first half was very similar to how their season has progressed. They played the Rangers very tough and didn’t appear to make many mistakes, but a look at the scoreboard showed the team down by a large margin. PR-B’s biggest obstacle to overcome is their inability to score consistently. The team goes in droughts, which allow the opposing team to make a small lead into a large one.
The second half started off on a good note for the Rangers. Howard tried driving the lane and put up an eight-foot jump shot, but a C-I player stepped up and blocked the shot, then turned it into the first basket of the second half, in favor of the home team.
The game got out of hand as the Rangers began to build a large lead. C-I found scoring from a variety of sources in the second half, as ten of their eleven players registered points. The Rangers would eventually outscore Pine River 41-18 in the second half for the convincing 74-36 win.
PR-B coach Shaun Howard has been happy with the effort that his team puts in every game, despite the lack of victories in the ‘wins’ column.
“This is a hardworking group, and this has been one of my favorite years coaching in the seven years I have been here, despite the losses,” he said.
Beau Howard led the way for PR-B with 13 points, which included 2 for 2 from the free throw line. Zach Struss added 11 points, Henry Krecklau had six points, and Konrad Beuckers contributed four points, all coming on free throws, where he went a perfect 4 for 4 from the line. Cody Mager had two points on a successful basket in the second half.