12/12/2013 2:56:00 PM Chisago Lakes boys split two against Hill-Murray and North St. Paul
by JEFF NORTON
Without a bona fide star player entering the season, the Chisago Lakes boys basketball team knew it was going to have to rely on balanced scoring and different guys stepping up at different times. Last week, Mitch Berg and Jakob Lindquist alternated the star player role, but the ‘Cats only were able to win one of the games. In their first game of the weekend on Friday, December 6, the Wildcats hosted Hill-Murray. Things were emotional at the beginning as Chisago Lakes Head Coach Chris Gargaro used to be a part of the Hill-Murray staff. But, after the pleasantries, the game started out quick.
It was a shooting exhibit between Berg and Hill’s Marshawn Wilson. Both players seemingly scored at will, but in different ways. Although the Pioneers’ supporting cast around Wilson was able to hit a few more open shots than Berg’s teammates did, the Wildcats were still in the game all the way through. In fact, they had it within five points with just a few minutes to play, but Wilson and the Pioneers wouldn’t let the ‘Cats pull even. Hill-Murray eventually pulled away for the 81-72 victory on CL’s home court. Wilson led all scorers with 34 points, but Berg was next man up with 25 points. Jake McKenzie scored 13 for CL, and Lindquist and Will Gillach each made it to double digits. Lindquist scored 12 and Gillach 10.
Chisago Lakes 60, North St. Paul 53 The Wildcats had a quick turnaround and had to travel down to North St. Paul on Saturday, December 7 to take on the North High Polars. The game went much the same way as the Hill contest, except the Wildcats were on the other side of the coin. The winning side. In this one, Lindquist stepped up and was the big shot for Chisago Lakes. He scored 21 points on six-of-eight shooting, including three-of-four from three point land. He also was effective when he drove to the basket, taking a game-high nine free throws for CL. His hot shooting staked Chisago Lakes to a seven point lead at halftime, one they wouldn’t relinquish to the Polars in the evenly-played second half.
Berg played second fiddle in this game, but was still highly effective, scoring 16 points on perfect five-for-five shooting from the floor. He also added two threes on six attempts and six rebounds for the Wildcats. McKenzie netted eight points for CL and also grabbed six boards. Big man Dylan Wood only scored four points and had four rebounds, but he showed some deft touch, dishing out a team-high four assists from the paint. As a team, the Wildcats shot an effective 63 percent from the floor, including five-of-10 from beyond the arc. The Wildcats played St. Francis earlier this week in what would be a strong litmus test as the Saints stand at 4-0 with wins over White Bear Lake and Forest Lake. They’ll host Division 1 prospect Alex Illikainen and section rival Grand Rapids on Friday, Dec. 13 in the main gym, giving them an early gauge on where they stand in Section 7AAA. The Thunderhawks are 2-1 on the year.