1/24/2013 11:11:00 AM CL wins two more, streak now at eight Bry Fernstrom scored 56 points in two games and cracked the 500 career rebound mark and is four points from 1,000 for her career
Dani Berg provided a nice spark for the Wildcats against Totino-Grace.
Chisago Lakes 71, St. Francis 59 Offense has been the key to Chisago Lakes past few successful seasons because of prolific scorer Whitney Tinjum. Without Tinjum, the beginning of the year was a bit slow on the offensive end for the Lady Wildcats basketball team, but they’ve found their groove the past few weeks, and they’ve now won eight games in a row.
The ‘Cats were in a shootout with St. Francis early in their North Suburban Conference tilt. Chisago Lakes pounded the Saints down low with junior Bryanna Fernstrom and sophomore Sarah Greene. St. Francis responded in kind with five three pointers and 13 free throw attempts, which sent the two teams into the lockeroom with St. Francis ahead by two points at 35-33. In the second half, Chisago Lakes’ defense tightened up their coverage, but didn’t get too aggressive.
They limited the Saints to only two more three pointers and only six more free throw attempts. With their defense locked down, the offense kept humming along and St. Francis didn’t have any sort of answer for Fernstrom and Greene, who combined for 49 points and 18 rebounds. Just after Chisago Lakes took the lead, they began to pull away and sealed it on free throw shooting down the wire. Hannah Trandahl went six-for-six from the line in the waning minutes to seal the 71-59 win. Trandahl finished the game with 14 points on 10-of-12 free throw shooting with six assits and six rebounds.
“Since our holiday break, our inside combination of Sarah and Bry have been tough to defend,” Head Coach Craig Walker said. “It took us a little while to figure out the best way to use the two of them together and then a little while for them to develop their chemistry. Lately our perimeter players have been real successful getting the ball inside to either of them and piling up the assists.”
Not only were the pair potent on the offensive end, but amazingly, they held St. Francis to only two points in the paint all game. Although some of that credit goes to the perimeter defenders who shut plenty of Saints down when they attempted to drive the lane. Greene had a double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds while Fernstrom had 28 points and seven boards.
Chisago Lakes 75, Totino Grace 60 The Wildcats tilt against Totino-Grace looked like it was going to be a laugher early. Chisago Lakes used their press defense and befuddled the Eagles’ guards into turnovers and easy baskets.
The Wildcats jumped to a 23-6 lead and things were looking too easy. Turns out, it was just the beginning. Totino went on a 29-14 run the rest of the half behind Madison Soukup and her four three pointers and narrowed the CL lead to two points by halftime.
“We have Bry on the inside defensively and we try to pressure on the outside with Sarah at the top of our zone,” Walker explained. “If teams are able to get out of the pressure and move the ball, there are openings at times for an open shot. We’ve been burnt a little by the three lately, mostly in the first half, but have made half time adjustments and limited their looks.”
The Eagles actually claimed a led for a short period of time five minutes into the second half. Again, the Chisago Lakes half court offense was stagnant, and they were forcing turnovers out of the pressure defense. “We struggled for a few minutes against their zone defense and couldn’t capitalize on some opportunities inside,” Walker said.
Walker went to a fresh face for a jump start, and he got exactly what he was looking for. Dani Berg came in from the bench and scored six quick points, which not only rejuvenated the Wildcat bench, but it also loosened up Totino’s interior defense. Those factors, coupled with Chisago Lakes’ relentless march to the free throw line -- they shot 23 of them on the night -- proved to be the winning formula.
Totino-Grace resorted to jacking up three pointer after three pointer, regardless of it being a good shot or not. They ended up nine-for-31 from the three point line as CL pulled away with the 15 point win. For the second game in a row, Chisago Lakes held their opponent to an amazing stat. Just nights after St. Francis only scored two points in the paint, Totino Grace only attempted two free throws all game against CL, making just one. “We made just 13 of our free throw attempts, but to limit our opponent to two attempts for an entire game is something that doesn’t happen very often,” Walker said.
Fernstrom, a junior, scored 28 points for the second game in a row, and she also grabbed 11 rebounds. With those boards, she eclipsed 500 rebounds for her career and the 28 points left her just four shy of 1,000 for her career. Greene added 24 points in the winning effort. Berg, Sam Forslund and Trandahl all scored six points.
The Wildcats are currently in the meat of their schedule however. Earlier this week, they took on Robbinsdale Cooper, who is atop the NSC standings with a 7-0 mark currently, and then they host Benilde-St. Margaret’s on Friday, Jan. 25 at 7:15. Chisago Lakes is tied with BSM for second place in the NSC with a 6-1 record.