With a 53-42 victory over St. Cloud Cathedral in the Class 2A semifinals, Crosby-Ironton earned one more chance to end what has become a dubious distinction.
The Rangers will be playing for a state championship for the sixth time in team history but have never won a title. They've finished second in 1944, 1947, 1987, 2008 and 2010.
It's somewhat fitting that Crosby-Ironton (30-2) used an iron fivesome to defeat the Crusaders. The Rangers did not go to their bench until the game's final seconds. Noah Gindorff scored 19 points and Trey Jacobs added 17, including his career 1,000th point, for Crosby-Ironton.
The Rangers built a 25-17 first-half lead on the strength of Gindorff, its physical center, who had 11 points before halftime. He finished with 13 rebounds.
Gindorff was one of the recruiting targets of new Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck, who tried to sway him from his football commitment to North Dakota State when Fleck took the Minnesota job. Gindorff eventually signed with the Bison.
St. Cloud Cathedral (26-6) never mounted a serious second-half rally. The closest the Crusaders could get was seven points on a three-pointer by Keaton LeClaire with 6:35 left.
The Rangers held a decided edge at the free-throw line, making 18 of 25 attempts, while the Crusaders made three of five attempts. Crosby-Ironton also held a 35-31 advantage in rebounds.
Junior Michael Schaefer led St. Cloud Cathedral with 15 points. He also collected his 1,000th career point in the game.