February 6, 2004 at 12:20 p.m.
Big Lake 29
The outcome of some games are determined in the first few minutes and this was definitely one of them. Through eight minutes of basketball, the Chisago Lakes girls basketball team was up 16-6 on Big Lake. Through two quarters, the score was 30-10. Do you get the idea?
The Wildcats smothered the Hornets from word go, controlling both ends of the court. On one side, the ‘Cats defense held Big Lake to just two field goals, and on the other, the Wildcats offensive attack was as balanced as ever, striking for six buckets from five different players.
“I was very pleased with the way we played, pleasantly pleased,” said Ed Wachutka, Chisago Lakes girls basketball head coach. “We played great defense. We came out with a lot of intensity, it might have been the best defense we’ve played all year in that first quarter.”
Unfortunately for Big Lake, things didn’t change. The Hornets again managed just two baskets in the second quarter while the Wildcats went on a 14-4 run, closing the first half with a 20 point lead. Again, the ‘Cats balance was the key as five players scored in the second, seven different players reached the scorebook over the first 16 minutes of play.
“There are opportunities for people,” commented Wachutka. “We got some excellent shots. Vanessa (Sprecher) hit a basket at the buzzer to end the first half, Genna (Wachutka) got her baskets off our press break. We are just seeing the court really well and getting everyone involved.”
How involved? Leading by 20 points heading into the third quarter, Chisago’s leading scorer, Kari Schmidt, had six points. The senior added her totals in the third as the Wildcats continued to build their lead. Quiet in the first half offensively, Schmidt and junior Katie Reed combined for 12 of the ‘Cats 14 third quarter points, extending the Wildcat lead to 21 after three, 44-23. If Big Lake was looking for Chisago to relax, it didn’t happen.
“We were coaching hard,” remarked Wachutka. “I laugh because sometime in the third, I was telling the girls to execute better, not to let them back into the game, and I looked at the clock and saw we had actually increased our lead from the three to four minutes earlier when I looked. The girls understood that they couldn’t let down.”
At least not yet. Well in front, Wachutka emptied the bench in the fourth and yet, the ‘Cats still added to their lead, outscoring Big Lake 9-6 in the fourth en route to a 53-29 win. It was all smiles for Wachutka and his crew on the bus ride back. With sections now less than a month away, their play continues to get better.
“I feel that, I think we are improving every game,” said Wachutka. “Earlier in the season, we wanted to increase our depth and we’ve done that. I think the girls are starting to settle into a comfort zone, and they’re having fun. They enjoy playing with one another.”
The win pushed the ‘Cats overall record to 12-5 overall and 8-2 in conference, still two games behind league leader St. Michael-Albertville. This week, Princeton on Tuesday and North Branch on Thursday. The Vikings stand third in the conference, one game behind Chisago.
Chisago Lakes 53
Big Lake 29
1 2 3 4 F
Big Lake 6 4 13 6 29
Chisago Lakes 16 14 14 9 53
Schmidt 13, Reed 9, Peterson 7, Bjorkman 6, Wachutka 5, Ferris 5, Ploog 4, Sprecher 4.
Note: Last Friday’s game (1-30) with Foley was postponed. No word yet on a make-up date.