December 26, 2003 at 10:02 a.m.
Chisago Lakes 47
A quick start was key and both coaches knew it. After all, both teams were looking to play two entirely different styles. North Branch wanted an up-tempo contest, filled with traps, steals, three pointers and points. On the other side, Chisago Lakes looked to pound the ball inside, taking advantage of the Vikings only weakness....height, or lack there of. Standing 6’5 and 6’6 up front, the Wildcats saw an opportunity and they wanted to make the most of it.
Two different teams, two different styles, one quarter to determine which team was going to control the tempo, and ultimately the game.
Less than a minute into the first quarter last Friday night, it became clear that North Branch was in control. Tied 2-2, the Wildcats turnovers started mounting and the Viking threes started falling.
Jake Anderson got it going, followed by Matt Fletcher, Matt Nelson, and Fletcher again. Meanwhile, Chisago Lakes fizzled on offense, committing twice as many turnovers as points scored (10 turnovers, five points), giving North Branch more than enough time to dictate the tempo, and the game.
“Again we got out to a fast start, but ever since the White Bear Lake game, we’ve made a commitment to our defense and that has been what has keyed our fast starts,” said Bill Baumann, North Branch boys basketball head coach. “When we play with intensity on defense our offense just flowed.”
Leading 18-5 heading into the second quarter, the Vikings offense moved from flowing to out of control as North Branch scored at will. Again the Vikings made their move from beyond the arc, adding three more three-pointers, one each from Fletcher, Anderson, and Britt Baumann, pushing their lead to as much as 28 points.
Again, the Wildcats continued to struggle on both sides of the court, forcing Herb Jangor to re-evaluate his game-plan.
“When you turn the ball over and don’t execute against a very good team, you’re going to get thumped,” mentioned Jangor, Chisago Lakes boys basketball head coach. “I’m sure their goal was to knock us out right away, jump on us early and take us out of it, and that’s exactly what they did.”
The Vikings finished the first half shooting 64 percent from the field while forcing 16 Chisago Lakes turnovers, resulting in a 39-13 lead at the break.
“Offensively, we were really unselfish with the basketball, making the extra pass to the open man for the nice shot and then knocking them down,” said Baumann.
Jangor had a different way to describe it.
“We panicked and that’s where our immaturity showed,” remarked Jangor. “I’m not sure too many teams can beat North Branch when they shoot like that. Sure, our defense could have been better but they shot the ball really well, especially in the first half.”
Despite the score, both coaches knew 16 minutes remained, 16 minutes where anything can happen. Because of that, North Branch kept the pressure on in the third quarter, starting with a three-pointer by Britt Baumann followed by two Anderson threes late in the quarter. Although things went better for Chisago Lakes on offense in the third, the deficit was too much. David Olson struck for seven in the quarter while Levi Secord added four and Mike Golv chipped in with three, still, the Vikings lead was 25 after three.
“We knew coach Jangor would be imploring his team to come out in the second half and execute better than they did in the first half and we knew the Chisago kids would not let down,” commented Baumann. “We also knew they would come out and play hard so we talked about maintaining our intensity.”
After another Baumann three midway through the fourth quarter, the North Branch lead was 30 points. From there, the Vikings emptied their bench while the Wildcats kept fighting, cutting the deficit to 18 before the final horn sounded on the 65-47 North Branch win. Chisago Lakes outscored North Branch 18-11 in the final quarter. The win pushed the Vikings to 3-0 in conference and 5-1 overall while the Wildcats fell to 1-2 in conference and 2-4 overall.
“We are going to have to have the intensity of the first half of that game all four quarters of games in the future,” remarked Baumann. “We have a tough stretch of non-conference games coming up and then we jump right back into the Rum.”
“We know each other so well, the games are a matter of adjustments, said Jangor. “Bill made some nice adjustments. We got beat by a well coached team with a great group of seniors. Now we have to re-group. After a loss like that, there are only two ways to go, up or down. I hope the kids choose to go up.”
After shooting 64 percent in the first half, the Vikings cooled down in the second, finishing the game at 56 percent. Four players reached double figures for North Branch led by Fletcher who scored 16.
For Chisago Lakes, Olson led the team with 12 points followed by Trevor Johnson and Levi Secord who each had 10.
North Branch 65
Chisago Lakes 47
1 2 3 4 F
Chisago Lakes 5 8 16 18 47
North Branch 18 21 15 11 65
Fletcher 16, Anderson 12, Baumann 11, Nelson 11, Beaver 6, McClaskie 5, Moriarty 3, Peterson 1.
Olson 12, Johnson 10, Secord 10, Golv 6, Swanberg 4, Corradi 3, Lallier 2.
North Branch 57
Chisago Lakes 40
Besides Ed Wachutka, nobody has seen Kari Schmidt play more than Dan Schindler. With that being said, besides Wachutka, nobody knows more about stopping Schmidt than Schindler.
Last Thursday in Lindstrom, stopping Schmidt was again goal number one for the Vikings who were coming off a 33 point win over Mora two nights earlier. The strategy was to play “team” defense, hopefully leading to a “team” win. The Vikings answered the call in every way they could, upsetting the Wildcats on the road 57-40. It was a total “team” effort.
“Our team defense was the best its been all year,” remarked Dan Schindler, North Branch girls head basketball coach. “Over the years we’ve had some very big wins, and this one can certainly be considered one of them.”
As it normally does, the Vikings defense fueled their offense. After holding Schmidt to six points in the first quarter (the only points scored by Chisago in the first), North Branch jumped out to an early lead thanks to six points by Jenny Anderson, four by Vashaity Center, and three by Katie Hasleiet, translating into a 13-6 lead after one.
“It was important for them to start the way they did, plus, they really hurt us on the offensive boards,” mentioned Ed Wachutka, Chisago Lakes girls basketball head coach. “They were doing some good things, and the things they were doing were leading to points.”
The Wildcats tried to fight back in the second, only to see North Branch extend their lead to 16 with 18 second quarter points. This time, the Vikings again used their team philosophy, getting scoring from five different players in the quarter, led by five by Anderson and four from Center. Meanwhile on defense, Rachel Brown, Kara Lundeen and the rest of the Vikings held Schmidt to one point in the second as the ‘Cats managed just 10 quarter points, making it 31-16 at the half.
Desperate for another scoring option to rise to the top, the Wildcats found themselves with plenty of shots, however none would fall. Chisago Lakes shot 20 percent from the field for the game.
“We didn’t shoot well and that magnified every other mistake we made,” said Wachutka. “As the game progressed, we got more and more frustrated and they got more and more confident.”
The Wildcats stroke from the field turned from cold to freezing in the second half. Still, they never gave up. Schmidt found some room in the third quarter striking for four points while Katie Reed added three, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Anderson, freshman Gabrielle Olson and Hasleiet kept widening the gap with a flurry of pressure shots. One of Hasleiet’s baskets in the third was a three-pointer, her third of the game.
“All of our players stepped up against them (Chisago),” mentioned Schindler. “Katie Hasleiet had a fantastic game scoring 18 points and going 4-4 from three point land. Everytime Chisago made a run, it seemed Katie would answer with a big basket. We need Katie to shoot more and hopefully that game will propel her to do that the rest of the season.”
“That made it difficult to comeback,” remarked Wachutka, referring to Hasleiet’s baskets. “They kept the pressure on. It seemed that whenever they need a big shot, they got it. We had some spots where we did some nice things and then they came down and hit a big shot.”
With the game well in hand, Hasleiet and the Vikings sealed the win from the free throw line, going 6-11 down the stretch, sealing a 57-40 win. Schmidt and Reed led the Wildcat attack with seven points apiece in the fourth. It was too little, too late.
“For our young team, it’s a huge win and confidence builder,” remarked Schindler, whose Vikings improved to 2-2 in conference with the win. “Kari Schmidt is the best player in the conference and I thought we did a great job defensively guarding her. She still had 18 points, but we made her earn them. It was just really a nice team win. She shot the ball well against them (55 percent). Our freshman point guard Gabrielle Olson had a super game. She had seven points, but more important, she had 10 rebounds and handled the ball against their pressure. And I thought Megan Stegmeir, Vashaity Center, and Jenny Anderson played great.”
Anderson led the Vikings with 19 points and rebounds while Hasleiet added 18 and Center eight (nine rebounds). For the Wildcats, along with Schmidt’s 18, Reed scored 13 points and Jess Peterson had six.
Next up, both teams will take part in a Holiday Tournament. The Vikings travel to Simley while the ‘Cats host the Chisago Lakes Invite.
North Branch 57
Chisago Lakes 40
1 2 3 4 F
North Branch 13 18 13 13 57
Chisago Lakes 6 10 8 16 40
Schmidt 18, Reed 13, Peterson 6, Ploog 2, Ferris 1.
Anderson 19, Hasleiet 18, Center 8, Olson 7, Brown 4, Lundeen 1.