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January 21, 2019

1/3/2019 2:22:00 PM
Chisago Lakes finds no rhythm in three losses

Cambridge Isanti 39, Chisago Lakes 31
Defense ruled the day when the Chisago Lakes Wildcats and Cambridge-Isanti Bluejackets got together for a Mississippi 8 Conference girls basketball tilt just before Christmas.

The Jackets run a trapping zone defense, and Chisago Lakes struggled mightily to break through it, and on the flip side, the Wildcats limited C-I to a very poor shooting night with their much-improved defensive effort.

“Unfortunately, we didn't have any games scheduled the week before and you could tell we were rusty,” Head Coach Craig Walker said.  
The ‘Cats turned the ball over 16 times in the first half, but only trailed by five at the half as their defense also turned over C-I a handful of times.

The second half was similar, seeing Chisago Lakes turn the ball over repeatedly, but hanging around behind Sophie Wood's 10 second half points.  

Eventually, Chisago Lakes cut the Bluejacket lead to five points midway through the second half, but their kryptonite ended up being their free throw shooting, something they have struggled with in year’s past also.

They did some great work to get to the line, but they were only 12-of-26 from the free throw line at the end of the night.

“The girls did what teams are supposed to do to get back into a game,” Walker explained. “We attacked the basket and got to the line, but just couldn't covert.”  

Wood finished with 10 points, all in the second half and 11 rebounds. Sarah Bjelland had six points, five rebounds and four steals.

“We're searching for some consistency, especially with our offense,” Walker said. “Our new kids are getting more experience and as we keep playing together, we'll start to get things right.”

Brainerd 67, Chisago Lakes 48
The Warriors from Brainerd brought a balanced scoring attack from behind the arch with three players hitting multiple three pointers.  

“They had a counter for almost everything we threw at them defensively,” Walker explained. “We'll continue to work on our defense and unfortunately, we didn't rebound as well as we have been which gave them more second chance opportunities.”

Chisago Lakes struggled again against a pressure defense, as the Warriors run a 1-3-1 trap, and that gave the ‘Cats fits, especially early. Brainered jumped on top of the ‘Cats 37-23 in the first half.

In the second half, when CL started to catch up to the pressure defense a little bit, they went on a run that trimmed the lead down to nine points midway through the second half. They got offensive contributions from Wood, Lizzy Godden, Sam Paulsen and Hannah Gillach.

But, Brainerd’s offense was still clicking at that point, and they eventually pulled back away to seal the 19 point win.

Gillach had a nice game for CL, scoring 10 points and grabbing seven boards. Bjelland scored eight points and had five assists.

“Hannah and Sarah are keys for us.  We'll go the way they go.  It seems that they are starting to figure things out a little bit more this week,” Walker said optimistically.

Sophie Wood finished with another double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Lizzy Godden 7, Sam Paulsen 4, Lillian Pearson  and Fiona Tollefson 2, Emma Bjelland and Jill Erickson 1.  

Bemidji 66, Chisago Lakes 59
This contest went a little bit different than the others as Chisago Lakes took a lead into halftime, up 30-26, but Bemidji caught fire in the second half to come back and topple the Wildcats for another loss before the holiday break.

Wood had 11 points in the first half and Bjelland had nine points, as the ‘Cats shot the ball well and played smooth offense and stingy defense.

Bemidji used the three point line to get back ahead of Chisago Lakes and fend them off in the second half though. Rumer Flatness hit a handful of three pointers en rout to a 25 points game for the Lumberjacks, and they hit eight as a team in the comeback win.

“We're doing some good things as our sophomores are beginning to mesh with our seniors.  Hannah and Sarah played their best games with eight and 14 points,” Walker said. “Wood had another good game with improved shooting, finishing with 17 points.”

The ‘Cats really struggled from the charity stripe again, shooting just 10-of-21, one game after shooting 13-of-21 against Brainerd. Those marks put them at just 51 percent shooting from the free throw line over the three games. “We are definitely working on some things in practice to improve our free throw shooting,” Walker said after the contest.

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