2/13/2014 1:43:00 PM CL comes away on top in
battle of ranked teams
Bryanna Fernstrom started the week off with a record-breaking performance, and then topped it off with two huge double-doubles in wins over one of the top Mississippi 8 Conference teams and one of their top Section 7AAA rivals. The record-breaker came when the senior scored 42 points in an 84-43 conference win over Big Lake. Fernstrom absolutely manhandled the Hornet defense all night, doing whatever she wanted next to the hoop. She scored 28 of her 42 points in the first half and she notched the record breaker, ironically on a three-point shot, with over nine minutes left in the game still.
“It's great for Bry to be able to add her name to the list of quality basketball players from Chisago Lakes that have held the record,” Head Coach Craig Walker said. “Most recently Whitney Tinjum, but also Jess Peterson, Kari Schmidt and Julie Lochner have also held the record.” With her 42 points, Fernstrom also had 15 rebounds, six blocks and four assists, which will go down as the box score of the year for CL girls basketball. Sarah Greene had 15 points for the ‘Cats and Carmen Backes, running the point since Sam Forslund went down with a knee injury, scored seven points and had five assists. “Carmen played a solid game with limited turnovers,” Walker said. “She is continuing to grow as our point guard.”
Chisago Lakes 67, Monticello 58 In a battle of two ranked teams in Class AAA -- Monticello ranked sixth and Chisago Lakes eighth -- and two teams that were in the state tournament last year, the Wildcats slashed through the tricks of the Magic en route to a 67-58 victory on Friday, February 7. In Fernstrom’s encore to her record-breaking performance on Monday, she led the Wildcats with 25 points, 15 boards and five blocks. The Magic brought most of their leading scorers back from last year, including Division I signee Grace Sawatzke. The Wildcats came out revved up and ready to go.
They grabbed a 23-6 lead in the first nine minutes of the game, sending Monticello to early timeouts. Fernstrom was the leader in rolling out that rude welcome mat, scoring the first five points for CL and swatting away a Magic shot. In the opening run, Fernstrom scored 14 of the 23 points. When the Magic keyed on Fernstrom, Greene and Backes played a little game of their own, hitting the open shots provided. Monticello couldn’t make a run early, either, because they were still adjusting to Fernstrom’s presence in the lane. Their early shots were mostly altered, and they didn’t get any second chances on rebounds with Green and Fernstrom patrolling.
Like all good teams, though, Monticello did eventually make the correct adjustments and began to go on a run and stifle Fernstrom defensively. However, one thing they didn’t account for was the dead-on accuracy of junior guard Dani Berg. In the latter stages of the first half, when Monticello had finally began to contain Fernstrom, Berg hit three straight three pointers and a layup to keep the ‘Cats lead in the double digits. “Shots like that from Dani need to be made for us,” Walker said. “It takes the defensive pressure off Bry inside and gives us another weapon offensively. They were big!”
The shots allowed Chisago Lakes to take a 13 point lead into the lockeroom at halftime. In the second half, Monticello began to attack against Chisago Lakes and the Wildcats became a little too passive in trying to run the clock down, resulting in some costly turnovers. Late in the game, the Magic trimmed the lead down to five points, but Laura Jennissen nailed her only basket of the game to stretch the lead back to seven, and then Backes went six-for-six from the charity stripe to sew up the 67-58 victory.
“Laura's basket was huge as we were trying to run some time off the clock during that stretch and unfortunately we turned the ball over a few too many times,” Walker explained. “It stopped their momentum and got us going again offensively.” Coach Walker felt the win might’ve been the biggest regular season victory of his career, coming against a ranked team and a state entrant. “The Superior win was great, but they’re a Wisconsin team that not a lot of people know much about,” Walker said.
“This win can give us motivation for the remainder of the season and our section tournament.” Chisago Lakes 52, Hermantown 38 The Lady Cats didn’t get much down time before they were back on the court. Following their Friday night triumph over Monticello, CLHS capped their Spirit Week with the Sadie Hawkins dance, which many of the girls attended. But those same girls had to be up in the morning to travel to Hermantown to take on the Hawks in a weekend matinee. “Some of our girls played ton of minutes Friday night, but they're used to that. What they're not used to was attending our Sadie Hawkins dance after the game,” Walker said. “A let down against the Hawks after a big win the night before would’ve been devastating for us.”
As expected, it wasn’t pretty. The Wildcats got their typical monster contribution from Fernstrom, as she scored 26 points -- 15 of them in the first half -- and grabbed 10 boards and had four blocks. The key for Chisago Lakes was their defense. They held Hermantown to only 16 points in the first half and 38 overall. “I'm really happy with our defense lately. Bry and Carmen shut down our opponents inside game which allows our perimeter defenders to play a little tighter on the outside,” Walker said after the grinding win.
The amazing stat for the game, and the one that led to the win for CL, was their free throw shooting. They didn’t hit the best percentage, shooting only 16-of-26, but Hermantown only attempted two free throws on the day. The ‘Cats used a lot of bench depth in the game because of the tired legs. “Laura Jennissen, Sally Nelson, Alli Carlson, and Julia Clarin played good minutes in relief for us after playing last night. They won't always appear in the scoring column, but their contributions are very important,” Walker said.