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home : sports : sports August 20, 2017

2/16/2017 2:01:00 PM
Streaky Wildcats drop four M8C contests in a row, including Monti

The Chisago Lakes boys basketball team has been a streaky bunch this year. They opened the season with four straight losses before winning four of their next five games. Those winning ways were followed up by three straight losses before they rattled off five consecutive wins. In their latest streak, the ‘Cats have now dropped four in a row, including a one-point heartbreaker to Monticello, the team that ended their season last year.

St. Francis 61, Chisago Lakes 54
Their tough stretch started with a seven point loss to St. Francis. Trevin Nelson had 18 points and Aron johnson had 10 in the 61-54 loss. “We have been working hard to get a good start to a game.  I thought we played a good first half being up two at halftime,” Head Coach Todd Dufault said. “St. Francis made more plays the second half, though. I was proud of how the guys battled to the end.  We got down but did not give up and once again made it interesting down two with just seconds to go.”
Big Lake 62, Chisago Lakes 41
The ‘Cats drew one of the top Mississippi 8 Conference teams this year in their next match  up, the Big Lake Hornets.
Their offense sputtered as Nelson had a tough time getting going against a Hornet defense that keyed on him. He had only 11 points and Eric Thompson chipped in nine.
“Big Lake is strong at all positions.  We competed well in the first half being down by just five at half time,” Dufault said after the game. “But, we ran into foul trouble and the wheels fell off the second half.  Big Lake is just too good to have mental breakdowns. I thought our bench gave us good minutes but we were out of sync the second half.”

Monticello 64, Chisago Lakes 63
The toughest loss in this streak came at the hands of Monticello. The Magic eliminated Chisago Lakes from the state tournament last year, and CL was looking for a measure of revenge. Nelson was back on track offensively, scoring 19 points, and Thomas Gillach had 13 points. Johnson and Will Tinjum both chipped in nine points each.
But, Monticello features one of the top players in the conference in junior guard Matt Todd. He is averaging nearly 25 points per game, five rebounds, five assists and three steals. His all around game is a challenge for any opponent.
Chisago Lakes focused on stopping him, but at the expense of other players making open shots. CL got down by 10 points in the first half, and they were forced to battle from behind the whole second half. They did put together a nice second half to get within a basket late in the game. The ‘Cats got two good looks at the basket with under five seconds left, but unlike the Cambridge-Isanti game, they couldn’t convert the shots. “We were so close to pulling this one out,” Dufault said after the tough loss.

St. Michael-Albertville 79, Chisago Lakes 59
The ‘Cats played pretty well in their most recent game, but St. Michael’s hot shooting made the final score a lot worse than the game was.

“I actually thought we played one of our better defensive games, but we just got beat by a better team tonight,” Dufault said.

St. Michael-Albertville shot over 60 percent from beyond the three point line, and they had four players in double digits, including Cody Mattson with 21 and Xavier Thurman with 18.

And the looks STMA was knocking down weren’t wide open spot up shots, either. “We weren’t giving up easy baskets, St. Michael was just hitting tough shots, so as a coach, you tip your hat to your opponent and move on,” Dufault explained.

The ‘Cats took on Zimmerman in a non-conference tilt on Valentine’s Day before they head on the road for three straight games against Cambridge-Isanti, Princeton and St. Francis. They’ll end their regular season at home against North Branch on Thursday, March 2.

“Our tough schedule continues to challenge us to get better and the kids are working hard.   We are very proud of them,” Dufault said.

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