12/13/2012 9:36:00 AM Gargaro wins first two games as CL's coach
Head Coach Chris Gargaro gives instructions to his players during the season opening win against Princeton. Photo submitted
By JEFF NORTON
Chisago Lakes 61, Princeton 54 After months of anticipation Chris Gargaro finally made his debut as coach of the Chisago Lakes boys basketball team. And it couldn’t have gone more swimmingly for the former Tartan assistant coach. The Wildcats’ first test of the year was against a Princeton Tigers team that loves to shoot the three, so Gargaro knew there were going to be times when his defense was stretched thin, but it didn’t show in the early stages of the game. Both teams got off to a sluggish start when the Wildcats’ defense kept Princeton’s three point shooters in check and the Tigers couldn’t get any other offense going. On the other hand, Chisago Lakes was missing open shots in the early stages, and that allowed Princeton to stay close. Eventually, the ‘Cats began to create a spread against the Tigers and stretched it to 10 points by halftime. In the second half, the game was essentially over in the first six minutes. The Wildcats pushed the lead to 15 points and held it there for most of the game. In the end, it became a parade to the free throw line and Chisago Lakes hit enough of them to keep the Tigers at bay for the 61-54 victory. Vinnie Gorski had a standout game, scoring 18 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and dishing out four assists in his debut as a starring player.
Clay Houfer added 16 points and six rebounds and Mitch Berg chipped in 11 points. “The kids played really solid basketball,” Gargaro said after his first victory. “I was really impressed with their energy level. We preach a lot of energy to them, and they came out and matched Princeton and did a great job.” Although the ‘Cats got the win and took the monkey off of Gargaro’s back early, he still saw plenty of areas where Chisago Lakes can improve. “We have to shoot better. No matter how well you defend, you can’t win without knocking down shots,” he explained. “Our defense will also have to improve -- you can always work on that. We just need to work to get better as a cohesive unit and make each other better.” Chisago Lakes 63, Duluth Denfeld 49 Gargaro’s second go-around in charge of the guys went much like the first. The Wildcats built a small early lead and ballooned it in the second half to run away with an away game against Duluth Denfeld. The ‘Cats were up 31-28 at halftime and then outscored the Hunters by 11 in the second half. The result is pretty surprising.
Although Denfeld graduated a majority of its rotation, they were a team that had over 20 wins last year and beat the Wildcats by 40 points in last year’s meeting. The Wildcats also had very balanced scoring and the Hunters weren’t able to key in on one specific player. Jakob Lindquist led the team with 13 points. Eleven of those points game on free throws. Gorski had 10 points on five-of-11 shooting and he also had six rebounds. Adam Sapp had nine points on three-of-three shooting from beyond the three point line. Houfer and Berg each had eight points, Chris Duncan had seven and Jake McKenzie had six points and seven boards in the team effort. ALUMNI NIGHT Chisago Lakes basketball will host Alumni Night on Friday, Dec. 21 against Spring Lake Park. All former varsity players and cheerleaders from Taylors Falls and Chisago Lakes are invited. Free admission, but you must sign in at desk and the names will be introduced at halftime. It will also serve as the 30 year reunion of the 1983 state tournament team. After the game, there will be refreshments and food at The Gallery Bar and Grill. That will be followed up by an Alumni Game on Saturday, Dec. 22 in the high school main gym. The games will run from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Fans are encouraged to bring all the old timers back for some conversation and fun.