3/27/2014 2:47:00 PM Wildcats one-and-done at state tourney
Sarah Greene is consoled by teammates as the clock winds down in Chisago Lakes' state tournament loss to Marshall.
by JEFF NORTON
Although Chisago Lakes didn’t get seeded again this year, they were hoping this was their best chance to shine in their three straight trips to the state tournament. They drew the third-seeded team after getting the top-seeded and second-seeded squads the past two years, they had experience at the tournament, and it was Bryanna Fernstrom’s senior year. All of it added up to a boatload of optimism for the Wildcats heading into their showdown with Marshall on Wednesday, March 19.
What they got was an in-your-face defense and a hot-shooting Tiger team that sent them to a 68-44 loss, the ‘Cats third straight one-and-done at the state tournament. The Tigers built an early lead when the Wildcats couldn’t hit their free throws in the opening minutes and were playing a bit sloppy on the offensive end. The only thing that kept them close early was two big threes by eighth grader Carmen Backes, her only two on the day. However, Marshall stretched the lead to nine points two different times, the second at 24-15. CL got the next four points, though, on a pair of free throws from Fernstrom and a layup from Marissa Kari. The ‘Cats then got two possessions at that same score, but couldn’t trim the lead any, and that would be the closest the Wildcats got the rest of the day at Mariucci Arena. F
rom that point on, Marshall’s pressure defense caused numerous turnovers by the Wildcats, and they took advantage of that. Marshall ended the last five minutes of the half on a 17-2 run that stretch what was a five point lead to a 20 point lead by halftime. The Wildcats had 14 turnovers in the half, leading to 16 Tiger points. Marshall only committed three turnovers that led to three points for CL. “They did a great job pressuring the ball and creating turnovers. They put us into some situations where we were just not very deep and able to handle pressure. They are a good defensive team and good defensive teams speed up their opponents and get them out of their game offensively,” Coach Craig Walker said. “We tried to play too fast and they took advantage.” A comeback never materialized in the second half as the Wildcats played from 20 points down for most of the half and fell 68-44.
The loss ended the magnificent career of Fernstrom, who scored 24 points and grabbed 18 boards in the contest. She was greeted by a hug from Walker and a standing ovation from the CL faithful as she checked out of the game for the last time. “Players like Bry are once in a lifetime players to coach. Her and her teammates have left a tremendous record for others to follow; three section titles along with multiple individual scoring and rebounding records,” Walker reflected. “But most important and memorable for me will be that I got to see her grow as a person from a timid freshmen and sophomore to a confident senior who's earned her way to a college scholarship and the chance to get a great education while playing basketball.”