1/19/2017 1:23:00 PM Life after Carmen Backes begins for Chisago Lakes girls basketball, again
For the second straight year, Carmen Backes suffered a season-ending injury less than 10 games into the season.
In fact, the MRI that revealed her torn ACL this year was performed on the same day as her MRI last year that discovered the broken bone in her back.
Up until her injury, the junior was averaging 27.4 points per game along with 11.1 rebounds per game. She also led the team in steals and was second in blocks and assists.
Missing her amounted to a tough transition week for CL, and it began with Rogers, who would’ve been a formidable foe with or without Backes. To make matters worse, second leading scorer Thea Kluge was also out for the game, recovering from an injury she sustained against St. Francis. Rogers took advantage of the short handed ‘Cats, outscoring them 47-20 in the first half. “Their defense put on great pressure and forced a lot of turnovers,” Head Coach Craig Walker said. “Our young guards struggled against their press and transition game.
Chisago Lakes ended up turning the ball over 28 times total in the game, and Walker knows full well that won’t win them many games on the year. Sarah Bjelland led the ‘Cats with 10 points, Hannah Gillach added nine, Anna Peters had eight and Alyssa Bjelland had seven.
Princeton 53, Chisago Lakes 50 The ‘Cats led for most of this game, but some late defensive breakdowns allowed Princeton to finish their comeback and send CL to their third straight loss. “This will be a game that will give us confidence in what we can do as a team,” Walker explained despite the loss. “We had the game won, but made some poor decisions late in the game.”
Julie Bjurman hit Princeton’s three pointer to give them their first lead at 51-50, and they added two late free throws to seal the game. Alyssa Bjelland scored 12 points to lead CL and eighth grader Sophie Wood added 11 points. “If there is a bonus to Carmen being out, it's that we will now play a few more kids and Sophie has been the first to step up,” Walker noted after the contest.
Chisago 73, Cloquet 63 Chisago Lakes had to go north to break out of their losing streak, but it was much needed as the ‘Cats got back on track with a big section win. Wildcat veterans Peters and Kluge shouldered the scoring burden in this one, with Kluge netting 23 points and Peters 22. They out scored the much taller Lumberjack post duo of Carmen Foss and Allie Wojtysiak.
“We made just enough stops defensively inside and rebounded a little better,” Walke said. “We also forced close to 20 turnovers and were able to get out and score in transition which we've been lacking lately.”
After Kluge and Peters, Gillach had eight points and Alyssa Bjelland and Wood each added six.
Chisago Lakes had another dance with county rival North Branch earlier this week, and will now step outside of the Mississippi 8 Conference for two games. The first tonight Thursday, January 19 at 7:15 at home against North St. Paul. The ‘Cats will follow that up by hosting Hibbing Friday, January 20 at 7:15.