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Seth Lage of Pelican Rapids bursts toward the basket during the Class 2A, Section 8 championship game Friday at Concordia College. (Dave Wallis/The Forum)

Vikings seal return to state after crushing Crosby-Ironton in Section 8-2A finals

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MOORHEAD - Stingy defense blended with balanced scoring put Pelican Rapids back in the state tournament.

Four different players scored in double figures as the Vikings pulled away in the second half for 74-48 victory against Crosby-Ironton on Friday for the Minnesota Class 2A, Section 8 boys basketball title at Memorial Auditorium.

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The 48 points were a season low for the defending section champ Crosby-Ironton, which beat Pelican Rapids in the section finals last season.

The top-ranked Vikings (30-0) had lost in the previous two section championship games.

"I think it takes the monkey off their backs," Pelican Rapids coach Brad Strand of the 12 seniors on his roster.

"It's fun to get here," said Pelican Rapids senior forward Eric Shulstad, who scored 15 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. "Now we can relax and go have fun at state."

Pelican Rapids plays the Section 6 champion New London-Spicer at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Williams Arena in the first round of the Class 2A state tournament.

"We have unfinished business," said Pelican Rapids senior Tydan Storrusten, who scored a game-high 22 points and added seven rebounds and seven assists. "We have to keep working hard. Hopefully, this isn't the end of the line for us."

Seniors Matt Skow-Anderson and Brian Guler also scored in double figures for Pelican Rapids with 12 points apiece. Senior Jan-Erik Lindberg added nine points, all of which came in the first half.

"It means the world," said Storrusten, who scored 18 points in the second half. "This is what you work hard for, winning something like this. ... I love these guys."

Crosby-Ironton cut the Pelican Rapids lead to 31-27 with 16 minutes, 40 second to play in the second half after guard Matthew Hudrlik scored on a layup.

The Vikings answered with a 15-4 run that gave Pelican Rapids a double-digit lead for good. Guler scored an inside basket with 13:40 remaining to cap that surge and stake the Vikings to a 46-31 lead.

Pelican Rapids added a 10-0 run in the final seven minutes of the second half.

Pelican Rapids forced 21 turnovers and limited Crosby-Ironton to 36 percent (17 of 47) shooting from the field.

The Vikings shot 35 percent (13 of 37) from the field in the first half, but still led 31-23 at halftime. Pelican Rapids started to hit shots in the second half, shooting 68 percent (17 of 25) from the field in the final 18 minutes.

"I think our defense by the start of the second half starts to wear on teams," said Storrusten, who was 5-for-8 from the field in the second half.

CROSBY-IRONTON (26-4): Hudrlik 3 2-3 8, Dickie 2 0-0 4, Hoge 7 5-8 22, Baker 3 2-4 8, Tesdahl 2 2-5 6, Kuhlman 0 0-0 0, Girtz 0 0-0 0, K. Paibyl 0 0-0 0, Snook 0 0-0 0, J. Paibyl 0 0-0 0. Totals 17-47 11-20 48.

PELICAN RAPIDS (30-0): Haugen 2 0-0 4, Storrusten 7 6-8 22, Skow-Anderson 6 0-0 12, Shulstad 6 3-3 15, Lindberg 3 0-0 9, Lage 0 0-2 0, Krueger 0 0-0 0, Ripley 0 0-0 0, Sorum 0 0-0 0, Guler 6 0-0 12, Larson 0 0-0 0. Totals 30-62 9-13 74.

Half: PR 31, CI 23. 3-point goals: Hoge 3, Storrusten 2, Lindberg 3. Total fouls: CI 14, PR 17. Rebounds: CI 29 (Hoge 8), PR 43 (Shulstad 13). Assists: CI 7 (Hoge 2), PR 18 (Storrusten 7). Steals: CI 8 (Baker 3), PR 12 (Haugen 4, Lindberg 4). Turnovers: CI 21, PR 14.

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