December 31, 2003 at 1:29 p.m.

After loss to Centennial, Vikings get back on track at Simley Tournament

After loss to Centennial, Vikings get back on track at Simley Tournament
After loss to Centennial, Vikings get back on track at Simley Tournament

Centennial 53

North Branch 34

Riding a two game losing streak, the North Branch girls basketball team had one more game to take care of before the Christmas break.

Last Monday, Centennial rolled into town, looking for a Christmas present of their own.

Early on, the Cougars controlled the tempo and the game. Centennial roared to a 17-4 first quarter lead, beating the Vikings in every way they could.

‘We started the game letting them dictate the tempo,” remarked Dan Schindler, North Branch girls basketball head coach. “I was disappointed we didn’t match their intensity. It seemed they were a step quicker than us in all phases of the game. Their pressure certainly gave us a lot of trouble in the first half.”

The first half proved to be the difference.

Leading after one quarter, Centennial increased their lead in the second quarter, leading 31-15 at the break.

“At halftime, we talked about coming out and attacking them instead of letting them dictate the tempo,” commented Schindler. “The third quarter was very good.”

No, actually the third quarter was great. North Branch got back to Viking basketball, trimming the deficit with every basket, pulling with in seven at one point. The Vikings outscored the Cougars 13-6 in the third.

“I was pleased with how we didn’t quit and we were able to come out and make it a game in the third,” said Schindler.

However, the comeback attempt took too much out of the Vikings as Centennial gained control back in the fourth, finishing the game on a 16-6 run en route to a 53-34 win.

Katie Hasleiet led the Vikings with 11 points while Gabi Olson chipped in with eight. Despite scoring five points, Jenny Anderson controlled the boards with 16 rebounds.

“We knew going into that game, it would be a tough match-up for us,” remarked Schindler. “Centennial has both size and quickness and is one of the best teams we will face this season. It definitely was a learning experience again for our team. But, we think playing this quality competition can make us a better team in the long run and help us get ready for the second half of the season.”

The loss dropped the Vikings record to 3-4 overall with the Simley Holiday Basketball Tournament on the way.

Centennial 53

North Branch 34

1 2 3 4 F

Centennial 17 14 6 16 53

North Branch 4 11 13 6 34

Scoring-

Hasleiet 11, Olson 8, Anderson 5, Stegmeir 4, Good 2, Center 2, Brown 2.

Simley Holiday Tournament-

1st Round

North Branch 57

Blake 47

While a slow start spelled doom earlier in the week versus Centennial, a strong start paved the way for the Vikings last Saturday in the first round of the Simley Holiday Tournament, leading to a 57-47 win over Blake.

Vashaity Center got things started with three quick baskets before the rest of the team followed suit. North Branch played solid on both ends of the court, jumping in front 17-9 after one. The lead could have been more.

However, in the second, a complete reversal, all the way down a to 15-0 run by Blake to close out the half. The Bears rally put them in front 27-24 at the break.

“It was totally different in the second (quarter),” said Schindler. “We quit running our offense and stood around on defense.”

Two wrongs that were quickly righted in the locker room.

After taking the second quarter off, the Vikings emerged again in the third, overwhelming Blake with a 21-5 run, putting North Branch in the driver’s seat.

The Vikings stayed there. Despite being outscored 15-12 in the final quarter, North Branch held on to a 57-47 win, giving them their fourth win of the season and a ticket to the second round.

“Each game we are learning and in that game, it certainly showed we need to be more consistent for four quarters to be a good team,” remarked Schindler. “It was also a good learning experience for us because when we ran our offense, we got good shots. When we lost focus, good things did not happen. This team is learning each game and I still like how we are developing. We still make plenty of mistakes and have a lot of work to do, but the girls are working very hard and we will continue to improve as the season goes along.”

One area of the game where the Vikings have already made leaps and bounds is with their balance. Versus the Bears, five different players scored eight or more points. Center led the Vikings attack with 12, followed by 11 from Hasleiet and Anderson. Anderson also finished the game with 12 rebounds.

North Branch 57

Blake 47

1 2 3 4 F

Blake 9 18 5 15 47

North Branch 17 7 21 12 57

Scoring-

Center 12, Anderson 11, Hasleiet 11, Brown 9, Olson 8, Stegmeir 4, Lundeen 2.

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