December 19, 2003 at 11:09 a.m.
Chisago Lakes 50
Inexperience and inconsistency usually go hand in hand. If Herb Jangor didn’t believe that before, he does now. After opening up the season with a “find a way to win” victory at Minnehaha Academy, last Tuesday, the young Wildcats found a way to lose, 55-50 to Mahtomedi.
“The game basically came down to the final eight possessions for each team,” remarked Jangor, Chisago Lakes boys basketball head coach. “They went five or eight from the floor and we went one for eight.”
The Wildcats jumped out to a 11-9 lead after one behind the strength of three three-pointers.
The long ball continued to hit in the second quarter. Senior Tony Corradi got hot from beyond the arc, sinking three threes in the second alone, helping Chisago hold on to a three point lead at the half.
“Tony (Corradi) played a nice game,” mentioned Jangor. “He did a nice job moving without the ball, creating some shots. In our offense, you need to move to get open, use some screens. That’s how you get good looks at the basket.”
While the ‘Cats benefited from the three in the first half, the Zephyrs used it in the second to fight back. Mahtomedi hit three threes in the third quarter while Chisago Lakes went cold. The Zephyrs outscored the ‘Cats 15-10 in the third, taking the lead, 37-35 after three.
The threes continued to fall in the fourth as both teams looked to gain control. Midway through the fourth, a Trevor Johnson putback catapulted the ‘Cats in front before the Zephyrs hit a important basket of their own. In the end, as Jangor said, it came down to the final eight possessions (see beginning).
“You have to execute down the stretch to win games and we didn’t do that,” said Jangor. “It’s a game of attitude. We had some kids who didn’t have a good night offensively and they let that affect them. There again is another sign of inexperience.”
Although the loss was difficult to stomach, the ‘Cats had to digest it fast. With two more games upcoming, they didn’t have a choice.
Chisago Lakes 50
1 2 3 4 F
Mahtomedi 9 13 15 18 55
Chisago Lakes 11 14 10 15 50
Corradi 16, Olson 9, Golv 8, Johnson 7, Todd Froberg 4, Brelje 3, Secord 2, Swanberg 1.
Chisago Lakes 41
With two non-conference games under their belt, the Wildcats traveled to Foley last Friday to open up their conference season.
Playing without senior co-captain Todd Froberg who was sidelined by an injury, the ‘Cats used their inside attack to pick up the slack in the first. Levi Secord, Cameron Lallier, and Trevor Johnson punishing the Falcons underneath, combining for 11 of the Wildcats 15 first quarter points, putting Chisago in front 15-9 after one.
However, in the second, the roles reversed. Foley charged back with a balanced attack of their own as different players scored in the quarter, out-scoring Chisago Lakes 16-6. On the other side of the court, the ‘Cats went cold from the field, making just one field goal in the quarter. The 10 point swing put Foley in front 25-21 at the half.
“We stopped doing what we were doing on offense,” commented Jangor. “We started standing around. There was no ball movement, nobody was setting screens, we weren’t passing the ball in our passing game offense. We just weren’t doing the little things and I’ve said time and time again, in order to win, you have to do the little things. These guys play solid basketball but then there is a stretch where things don’t go our way and the guys lose confidence in themselves and the system.”
Hampered by turnovers (30 in the game), the Wildcats never recovered. After being outscored 13-11 in the third quarter, the ‘Cats trimmed the Foley lead from six to two late in fourth quarter before the Falcons secured the win from the free throw line. Foley only shot 6-13 from the line in the fourth but those six points were enough to hold the lead, defeating the Wildcats 50-41. On the other side, the ‘Cats shot 37 percent from the field and hit only one of 11 attempts from three point land.
“You can’t turn the ball over 30 times and expect to win,” said Jangor. “We had no concept of team offense late in that game, it was every man for himself. Still, after playing like that, you only lose by nine. Part of the reason is not because the kids are being selfish, but we had three starters on the bench and everyone was pressing too hard.”
Individually, in what Jangor called his best game of his varsity career, Secord led the ‘Cats with 15 points while David Olson chipped in with nine. The loss dropped the Wildcats record to 1-2 overall with Cambridge-Isanti less than 24 hours away.
Chisago Lakes 41
1 2 3 4 F
Chisago Lakes 15 6 11 9 41
Foley 9 16 13 12 50
Secord 15, Olson 9, Corradi 6, Lallier 5, Trent Froberg 2, Johnson 2, Swanberg 2.
Chisago Lakes 35
The Wildcats had their work cut out for them.
After losing to Foley by nine, the ‘Cats had little time to lick their wounds against a very good Cambridge-Isanti team the next night.
“It was a good game for us to come back from after playing a poor game the night before,” said Jangor.
A good game maybe but also a difficult opponent.
Balanced from top to bottom, the Bluejackets wasted little time, piling up 15 first quarter points to take an early lead. Senior Mike Golv and junior David Olson did their best to keep pace, each nailing a three-pointer in the first. Still, the Wildcats had a 15-8 deficit to dig themselves out of after one. Cambridge extended their lead to 10 at halftime with 11 more second quarter points.
“Cambridge will be one of the better teams we play this season if not the best all year and I actually thought we played the best game of the year,” replied Jangor. “We were getting open shots we just weren’t hitting them. We were within striking distance at halftime, we just had one lapse, otherwise I thought the game was closer than what the scoreboard showed.”
That one lapse came in the third quarter. Within striking distance, the Bluejackets changed that with a flurry of fast break buckets. The four minute period turned the chance of a comeback from unlikely into impossible. While Cambridge opened it up, Chisago struggled to answer.
“We didn’t get back on defense,” replied Jangor. “They had to have about 12-14 easy lay-ups and then on our side, my coaches counted about 8-10 missed bunnies inside. You can’t do that against Cambridge. For the most part, the kids played their butts off, but Cambridge was just the better team. You have to give them credit.”
The Bluejackets got stronger as the game got older, tacking on 20 more points in the fourth quarter compared to the ‘Cats 11. In the second half alone, Cambridge outscored Chisago 36-19 en route to a 62-35 win.
“We actually had a couple of chances to get back into it in the second half but we couldn’t take advantage of it,” said Jangor. “When you think about it, that’s not surprising. I looked down at the end of the my bench and saw 40 points a night of offense sitting there with Marcus (Burgin), Mike (Tschida), and Todd (Froberg). That’s not to mention experience. The players we have playing are in new roles and the one’s who need to step up are putting too much pressure on themselves.”
For the fourth straight game, the Wildcats had someone new lead them in scoring. Golv led the ‘Cats with 11 points while Olson had nine. Johnson and Secord added four and three respectively. The loss was the ‘Cats third in a row, dropping their overall mark to 1-3.
“I’ve said it all along, this team is not going to be good until late January or February,” replied Jangor. “We’ve had four games and we’ve been in position to win three of them. We have a chance to be a nice team at the end of the year, we’re seeing signs of that, now we just need to put it all together. Everyone is in a new role and it’s going to take some time to adjust and settle down.”
Unfortunately, time is something they don’t have. Standing at 0-1 in conference, the Wildcats have two more league games this week including Friday when they travel to North Branch.
Chisago Lakes 35
1 2 3 4 F
Chisago Lakes 8 8 8 11 35
Cambridge-Isanti 15 11 16 20 62
Golv 11, Olson 9, Johnson 4, Secord 3, Collins 2, Trent Froberg 2, Swanberg 1.