1/3/2013 9:44:00 AM Vikings now 9-0, tough stretch ahead
By JEFF NORTON
North Branch 62, Fridley 40 Perfection hasn’t eluded the North Branch girls basketball team yet. They kept their unblemished record clean with a 62-40 victory over North Suburban Conference opponent Fridley. The road win was especially nice because the Vikings were up big at halftime and were able to cruise to the end. “Our press really gave them trouble in the first half and we were able to play up-tempo and get some easy baskets,” Head Coach Dan Schindler said. The Vikings coasted to a 43-17 lead at halftime while Sarah Lekson was scoring from the inside at will and Courtney Selbitschka was earning the transition baskets. North Branch 66, Browerville 52 The Vikings won the first game of their holiday double dip with a balanced offensive attack and a potent press defense, staples of any Schindler-coached team. The Vikes led throughout the game, with Browerville keeping it close at times until North Branch’s free throw prowess took over at the end of the game. “Browerville really was scrappy and every time it looked like we had the game in control, they made a run at us,” Schindler said. “But, it was a nice team effort and got us to the championship game.” Huset had 15 points, Selbitschka had 15 and Mikayla Carlson had 10 off the bench. Annette Olson chipped in eight points and 14 rebounds. North Branch 53, Bloomington Jefferson 49 North Branch won the holiday tournament with a great showing against the Jefferson Jaguars. After trailing at half because of Jefferson’s 11-of-12 free throw showing, the Vikes reversed that trend in the second half. They allowed only one made free throw shot from Jefferson while they made nine to seal the victory. “Our bench gave us some important minutes in this game and against Browerville,” Schindler said. “Jessica Merchant, Taylor Gazda, Carlson and Morgen Coleman all played well.” Lekson, Olson and Huset were all named to the all-tournament team and Lekson was the MVP. Now at 9-0, the Vikes are knocking on the door of the top 10 in Class AAA, but their big test is on the horizon. They have three road games in a row, starting at county rival Chisago Lakes on Friday, Jan. 4 and then they follow that up with games against Cooper and Benilde-St. Margaret’s. Those three teams went one-two-three in the North Suburban Conference last year.