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January 22, 2022

12/23/2021 11:28:00 AM
Lock down defense aiding Wildcats to 4-1 record

The Wildcat girls basketball team had one of the more impressive defensive stretches you’ll see when they opened their Mississippi 8 Conference schedule against St. Francis last week, immediately after playing a non-conference game against Sauk Rapids-Rice.

Chisago Lakes 66, Sauk Rapids-Rice 28
Chisago Lakes had the Storm’s number throughout, and it was especially evident in the second half.

The ‘Cats held the early lead, building a 17 point cushion by halftime and leading 37-20.

In the second half, the defense went to another level for Chisago Lakes, and Sauk Rapids struggled on offense. The combination of staunch defensive work and a cold shooting team resulted in the Storm scoring just eight points in the second half.

The Wildcats ended up running away with the contest by almost 40 points, 66-28.

Emily Erickson had 17 points, Alyssa Hempel had 14 and Greta Gillach and Brianna Wille each chipped in 10 a piece.

No Storm players scored in double digits in the Tuesday, December 14 showdown.

“Emily Erickson is scoring inside and outside the arc while leading our team,” Head Coach Jeff Saueressig said. “And Bri Wille came off the bench to score 10 points and played good defense for us.”

Chisago Lakes 48, St. Francis 19
The Wildcats tenacious defensive effort poured over from the end of the Rapids game to beginning of the St. Francis game in CL’s Mississippi 8 Conference opener. They held the Saints to just five points in the opening stanza while scoring 23.

Combining the second half of the Storm game with the first half of this game, and the ‘Cats outscored their opponents 52-13.

The Chisago Lakes’ defense didn’t loosen up much in the second half, allowing only 14 points there against the Saints. The 48-19 final score was a major romping in favor of CL.
The ‘Cats dominated on both ends of the floor, with Emily Erickson scoring a game-high 14 points for Chisago Lakes. Alyssa Hempel had 13 points and nine boards and Greta Gillach added 11 points and six assists.

Chisago Lakes 62, Bemidji 56
Hempel absolutely dominated for the Wildcats in their thrilling win over Bemidji on Saturday, December 18.

The senior post scored 20 points and snagged 11 rebounds to lead the ‘Cats in both categories.

“Alyssa Hempel took a big step forward in her development as a post against Bemidji scoring 20 points.  She also plays very good defense in the paint,” Saueressig said.
Chisago Lakes held a slim lead at halftime, but the inside-out combo of Hempel and Gillach proved to be dangerous all night. Gillach added 16 points into the attack to go along with three steals and three assists.

The Lumberjacks wouldn’t go away quietly, though, and stayed in the game throughout, led by Jackie Johnson, Katey Milbrandt and Kate Hildenbrand.

But, Katherine Saueressig, Kate Wille and Gillach hit some big buckets down the stretch to keep CL in front and eventually wrap up the win 62-56. Gillach and Saueressig combined to go seven-for-10 from beyond the arc against the ‘Jacks.

Saueressig also had six assists and Kaitlyn Wille added six points and five boards to the Wildcat cause.

“It was a successful week as we were able to improve as a basketball team and also win all three games,” Head Coach Jeff Saueressig said. “We continue to get very balanced scoring from our team with three or four girls scoring in double figures consistently. Greta Gillach and Katherine Saueressig continue to play incredible on and off ball defense.  They are making things happen on both ends of the court.”

Chisago Lakes will dip into the conference again this week, as they took on Cambridge-Isanti on Tuesday, December 23, before taking a week off for the Christmas holiday.
They’ll then hit the road for three straight non-conference games, including the Monticello Holiday Tournament, against Proctor and Orono in Monti and then at Mahtomedi on Tuesday, January 4.

“We look forward to seeing continued improvement going forward as our schedule continues to get more difficult,” Saueressig noted.

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