December 19, 2003 at 11:04 a.m.
Big Lake 44
The second and third scoring options finally arrived, albeit late in the game, but the extra push was just enough to give the Chisago Lakes girls basketball team a 53-44 win over Big Lake last Tuesday, pushing their conference mark to 1-0.
The game started out with Kari Schmidt, Schmidt, and more Schmidt as the senior scored all 12 Wildcat points in the first quarter. Meanwhile, the Hornets struggled to get into a grove offensively, managing just seven points. The majority of their attention was directed towards their defensive game-plan, a plan that wasn’t working early.
“With this team, it all depends on how they play Kari,” mentioned Ed Wachutka, Chisago Lakes girls basketball head coach. “They really weren’t taking Kari away. They came out and pressured our guards instead and they did a nice job getting the ball to her.”
In the second quarter. Big Lake made the adjustments on defense, holding Schmidt to five points, but this time, the rest of the team stepped up to fill the void. Aided by Vanessa Sprecher’s five second quarter points, the Wildcats matched the Hornets point for point, holding onto a 24-19 lead at the break.
The ‘Cats balance showed itself in the third as well as Chisago took control of the game late. Courtney Skoog, Sarah Ploog, and Jess Peterson all added third quarter buckets as the Wildcats increased their lead to nine after three.
“The third quarter was really the key for us,” remarked Wachutka. “We came out and played very well, even keeping that going in the fourth. We were much more purposeful on offense. It was a game that I felt we were in control of the whole time. We saw some contribution from some different players so were getting where we need to be on offense.”
Big Lake closed the gap in the fourth, thanks in large part to several Chisago fouls giving the Hornets six points from the free throw line. However, Schmidt and company closed the door with 19 fourth quarter points, 11 alone from the senior. en route to a 53-44 win. With the 11 points in the fourth, Schmidt finished the game with 32 points.
“She really hurt them inside. She didn’t take any three’s although she can,” said Wachutka. “We wanted to get the ball inside to open up shots for other people and I think we did a pretty good job of that. We played a smart basketball game on both sides of the court which is something we needed to do.”
Along with Schmidt’s 32 points, the senior added 14 rebounds including eight offensive rebounds. As a team, the Wildcats pulled down 21 offensive boards leading to numerous second chance points.
Sprecher added seven and Peterson four for the Wildcats who improved their season mark to 2-2.
Chisago Lakes 53
Big Lake 44
1 2 3 4 F
Chisago Lakes 12 12 10 19 53
Big Lake 7 12 6 19 44
Schmidt 32, Sprecher 7, Peterson 4, Reed 2, Skoog 2, Wachutka 2, Ploog 2, Bjorkman 2.
Chisago Lakes 50
Up until the second quarter of last Friday’s basketball game with Foley, Kari Schmidt held the title of the all-time scoring leader in Chisago Lakes girls basketball history. After her third basket of the game and her six point of the game, Schmidt was finally able to remove “girls” from that title. The senior is now the all-time leading scorer in Chisago Lakes HISTORY! Boys or girls, Schmidt is on top.
After her 32 point performance versus Big Lake three nights earlier, Schmidt entered the game five points shy of the mark. At first, there was concern whether or not she would be able to do it in front of the hometown crowd.
“She banged up her thumb in the first and I wasn’t sure she was going to be able to continue,” remembered Wachutka. “We had her hold onto a basketball on the bench for awhile and she said she was ready to go. It’s just such a great accomplishment. It really demonstrates her consistency, to be able to score the way she has over the past three seasons when really everyone knew they needed to stop her.”
By the way, there was a game going on also.
With the night belonging to Schmidt, the rest of the Wildcats quietly played one of their best games of the season, sparking the ‘Cats to their second consecutive win, 50-34 over Foley.
The game started out slow and sloppy. Schmidt and Katie Reed combined for six first quarter points, giving Chisago a 6-5 lead after one.
Then in the second, things heated up. Coming off a Big Lake win where the Wildcats balance started to show, the ‘Cats took another huge step. Six different players scored in the second for Chisago leading to 13 quarter points. The offensive explosion came at a good time as the Falcons also heated up on offense, enabling the Wildcats to hold a 19-17 lead at halftime.
“Our shot selection was excellent,” said Wachutka. “At the beginning of the game, Foley was trying to cover our perimeter players with their zone. After we adjusted, the girls did a great job finding their weakness in the zone and getting some open shots.”
The open shots continued to fall in the third for the Wildcats. Senior Abby Bjorkman hit her second and third three-pointers of the game while Schmidt added four and Reed and Sarah Ploog chipped in with two. The attack was too much for Foley as Chisago built their lead to seven after three, 33-26.
“We protected the ball on offense and shot well from the field,” remarked Wachutka. “It was big for is to get some confidence on offense.”
That confidence grew to another level in the final frame. With six points through the first three quarters, Reed matched that total in the fourth, going 4-4 from the free throw line. Sprecher and Peterson were also perfect from the charity stripe, helping to secure a 50-34 win.
“We struggled a little bit early but I think right now, we are about where I thought we would be,” replied Wachutka. “We’re playing a lot smarter. We’ve always played with intensity but we’re handling and controlling that better right now. We’ve closed the gap a great deal which is nice to see.”
Quietly. Schmidt led the Wildcats with 15 points and eight rebounds while Reed finished with 12 and Bjorkman chipped in with nine. For the game, the ‘Cats shot 47 percent from the field including a perfect three for three from three-point land.
The win put the Wildcats back above .500 with a 3-2 overall record, 2-0 in conference.
Chisago Lakes 50
1 2 3 4 F
Foley 5 12 9 8 34
Chisago Lakes 6 13 14 17 50
Schmidt 15, Reed 12, Bjorkman 9, Sprecher 6, Peterson 4, Ploog 4.