The Wildcats showed some toughness and tenacity in hanging with one of the best teams in the North Suburban Conference early last week.
The Cooper Hawks visited the CL High School, and they feature Rashad Vaughn, a top 10 national recruit in the class of 2014. And while they were able to keep Vaughn in check for the most part -- he scored 16 when his season average is just a shade under 28 a game -- Lavar McCullough picked up the slack, scoring 24 points as the Hawks won 61-48.
Mitch Berg and Clay Houfer were the offensive sparkplugs for Chisago Lakes. Berg finished with 20 points on six-for-12 shooting from beyond the arc, and Houfer had 14 points.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s 55, Chisago Lakes 52
After two extra frames, Benilde-St. Margaret’s finally downed the Wildcats in the team’s first match up of the year. Despite another quality shooting night, turnovers and some bad decisions did the Wildcats in most of the night.
They shot 15-of-28 from the field, including five-of-eight from three land and 17-of-24 from the free throw line. After going down by seven in the first half, the ‘Cats battled back despite missing senior center Clay Houfer. However, freshman forward Dylan Wood filled in nicely for Houfer, earning his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
In the second half, Chisago battled back to tie the game by out-scoring BSM 28-21. In the first overtime, both teams were a bit tentative and were playing not to lose and each only scored three points to send the game to another OT. BSM seized control in the second extra period and took the win 55-52. Vinnie Gorski led the offensive charge for CL with 13 points. Berg and Wood both had 12 and Jakob Lindquist had 11 points.
Chisago Lakes 61, Cambridge-Isanti 60
The Wildcats finally parlayed their hot shooting into a victory by taking care of the ball on offense. Chief among those hot shooters was Jakob Lindquist. He scored 17 points on four-of-six shooting, including three-of-four from beyond the arc. He was also six-for-six from the charity stripe in lead CL to the victory.
The Bluejackets had the slim one point lead at halftime, but the game stayed close all the way throughout until Chisago Lakes was able to pull out the one-point victory. The Wildcats got balanced scoring behind Lindquist. Houfer added 12 points in his return, Gorski had eight and Jake McKenzie and Will Gillach each had seven points in the winning effort.
The ‘Cats earned their second win in a row earlier this week over Fridley 63-59. Chisago Lakes will now step out of conference for two games to close the week. They’ll take on North St. Paul on Friday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. at home and then they’ll host Big Lake on Saturday, Feb. 2 at 2 p.m.