|12/22/2017 2:18:00 PM|
CL topples two straight ranked teams
Chisago Lakes 47, Edina 40
Defense is the biggest part of the high school basketball game, and the Wildcats put on a masterpiece in their 47-40 win over Edina on Tuesday, December 12.
The Hornets, who were undefeated coming in and ranked in Class AAAA, struggled against Chisago Lakes swarming defense.
Head Coach Craig Walker really credited Thea Kluge’s return to helping the defensive effort. “She didn’t have her best game offensively, but she was a game changer on defense down the stretch as Edina tried to tie the game.”
Senior Carmen Backes had 20 of CL’s 47 points. Anna Peters had 12 and Hannah Gillach had nine points.
Chisago Lakes 59, Mahtomedi 56
The Wildcats continued their winning ways with a 59-56 upset over the fifth ranked Zephyrs of Mahtomedi. They hadn’t lost yet this season either, but when the came to visit the ‘Cats for their home opener, they went home with their first blemish.
Again, the defense and rebounding was on point, and that was the biggest factor in the victory. “We had to get to work defensively after our loss at Hermantown last Friday,” Walker said. “The girls have really embraced playing better D and also improving our blocking out.”
Chisago Lakes jumped out to a 30-19 halftime lead, thanks in large part to the offensive efforts of Backes and Peters, but they knew they game was far from over. “We told our girls to expect a run at some point and we played with poise to handle what they threw at us and pulled out the win,” Walker said.
Mahtomedi actually did take a late lead in the game, by Peters and Lydia Rehder hit two big buckets on back-to-back possessions to retake the lead. After Mahtomedi standout Annika Sougstad made two consecutive baskets, Backes countered with a contested two pointer that kept the CL lead in tact.
With just seconds left, Mahtomedi was forced to foul, and Heather Elfering, a senior going to play at Mayville State next year, calmly knocked down both free throws to give CL a 59-56 lead.
Fittingly, Chisago Lakes’ defense forced an awkward, off-balance three point attempt from Mahtomedi to close to game, and it feel short off the iron, securing CL’s win.
Backes led the team with 23 points and Peters had 15.
“I don't think we've ever knocked off two undefeated teams back to back like this in my career,” Walker said, despite the amount of success the program has enjoyed under his leadership. “I really think we're seeing the results when a team buys in to playing great defense and focuses on rebounding. We do have some work to do offensively, but they pressured us and we handled it with poise.”
The ‘Cats are now off for their Christmas break and won’t return to the court until they take on Waconia and Becker in the Monticello Holiday Tournament on Thursday and Friday, December 28 and 29. Their next home game is Tuesday, January 2, as they host their first M8C opponent in St. Francis.