|1/30/2020 3:17:00 PM|
Lady Vikes hold off last ditch effort from Wildcats
North Branch 37, Chisago Lakes 35
For two teams that can lack scoring punch at times, the North Branch-Chisago Lake match up went as most figured: a low-scoring, defensive grinder.
North Branch held a slight lead at halftime, only to see Chisago Lakes power back and take the lead before a late Viking run gave them the much-needed victory.
Both halves were a slog on the offensive end. The defenses constantly got the better of the two match ups. Chisago Lakes used their perimeter defense and press to limit North Branch opportunities while the presence of NB’s Paige Peaslee provided a challenge for Chisago Lakes’ guards in penetrating the lane. They ended up shooting just four-of-24 outside the lane.
Peaslee was NB’s offensive focal point, scoring 17 of their 37 points, including a huge late and-one play that gave NB the lead for good.
Greta Gillach scored nearly half the points for Chisago Lakes, scoring 16 of their 35. Only four girls from Chisago Lakes scored points, with Jill Erickson and Alyssa Hempel each netting eight and Emma Bjelland scoring three.
Chisago Lakes Head Coach Craig Walker noted after the game that the ‘Cats have struggled against quality post players all year, and Peaslee is one of the best they’ve faced. “Our nightly goals are to create turnovers using a press and transistion when appropriate,” he said. The ‘Cats forced 20 turnovers by North Branch, but they turned it over 17 times themselves, including three of the last five possesions.
Those key late possessions nearly led to an upset win for CL. Down by one with just 20 seconds left, the ‘Cats drew up a nice play that allowed Hempel a mostly unobstructed run at the hoop, but the lay up attempt bounced around the rim and out. After Peaslee hit a free throw on the ensuing North Branch possession, the ‘Cats had another shot at a win or tie down two points. Senior Lizzy Godden sprinted down the court and drove down the left side of the lane. Right as she was about the gather for a shot attempt, she bounced the ball off of her knee and out of bounds, giving NB the ball with 0.3 seconds left in the contest. The Vikings just aired the inbounds pass as far down court as possible, running the time out and giving them the win.
“This is the second game we had a lead late and missed shots around the basket,” Walker said. “I'd say none of these kids have been in late game situations at the varsity level, each time is a learning moment for them. We practice pressure free throws and beating double teams, but that work is nothing compared to actual game situations.”
“We knew we needed to bounce back after our lopsided loss to Cambridge and it was nice to pick up an important conference and section win,” NB Head Coach Alison Trampe. “We missed a lot of shots early in the game that we usually make but the girls found a way defensively to keep us in the game all night. Despite being down late, our girls never gave up and Paige hit a big shot for us to put us up for good. It was a fun battle and we were fortunate to come out on top!”