|1/9/2014 1:33:00 PM|
'Cats take down section challenger
by JEFF NORTON
Traveling to hostile territory has been tough for the Wildcats girls basketball team the last two years. Although they put together two state tournament teams and 46 wins in the two years combined, they lost 14 games, and 10 of those came away from the cozy confines of the Chisago Lakes Gym in Lindstrom. When the Wildcats took the long trip up to Grand Rapids last weekend, they figured to be at a disadvantage, even though they’ve won four straight contests over the Thunderhawks, including ending their season the past two years.
Early in the game, the Chisago Lakes backcourt, sans senior guard Sam Forslund, who is still out with a knee injury, was having some trouble moving the ball up the court against Grand Rapids press, and it allowed the Thunderhawks to keep things interesting. When the Wildcats did get it over half court, they quickly dumped the ball down low to Bryanna Fernstrom and Sarah Greene. The tandem combined for 28 of the Wildcats 32 first half points, but CL’s eight turnovers left the game tight as Rapids’ scored 31 first half points behind Megan Allen and Taylor Kane.
In the second half, Head Coach Craig Walker made some defensive adjustments, putting more pressure on Kane and Allen, forcing them to pass the ball and making sure any shot they took would be contested. The change in strategy worked, as those two only combined for four more points the rest of the way. The Wildcats began to pull away when their perimeter duo of Carmen Backes and Dani Berg began to hit shots of their own. The pair established a bit of a rhythm early in the second half, and then closed out the game, combining to go nine-of-10 from the free throw line in the waning minutes of the 62-55 victory. After passing that section test, the Wildcats will take on Rogers on Friday, January 10 at home.
Their game against Mississippi 8 Conference foe Cambridge-Isanti was cancelled earlier this week due to the extreme cold, but a make up date will be announced. After hosting Rogers, the ‘Cats will play three games in five days when they suit up against Princeton, St. Francis and Becker between January 14-18.