January 22, 2004 at 2:26 p.m.
Chisago Lakes 51
The week started with the lowest of lows.
At home facing Milaca, the Wildcats were surprised and overwhelmed by a feisty Milaca team.
The entire game was nip and tuck. While Chisago Lakes pushed the ball inside in the first quarter, getting eight of their 11 quarter points from their post players, Milaca answered with balance, getting a basket from six different players, leading to a 12-11 Milaca advantage after one.
The second quarter was more of the same for the Wolves, but the exact opposite for Chisago. The Wildcat guards took over, striking for 15 points. David Olson scored seven in the quarter while Mike Golv added six, including a three-point play late in the second quarter that sparked the ‘Cats to a 26-21 lead at the break.
Even though Chisago was in the lead, the report card for the first half received a failing grade from the Wildcats coaching staff.
“We didn’t play team basketball, we didn’t do things as a team,” said Herb Jangor, Chisago Lakes boys basketball head coach. “We had different players doing their own thing and we never settled into team basketball.”
Unfortunately for Chisago, that trend would continue in the second half. In the third, three ‘Cats combined to score 15 points, nine coming from Olson. However, Milaca continued to close the gap with their balance, getting points from six different players, leading to a 41-41 tie after three.
Then came the fourth.
Chisago Lakes gained the momentum early, getting baskets from Olson, and Levi Secord to pull in front. However, the Wildcats could never pull away, hitting just three of eight free throws down the stretch, giving Milaca an open door.
The Wolves not only walked through it, they kicked it down. Down 51-50 with time winding, Milaca’s Jeremie Wallin connected from beyond the arc, nailing a three-pointer. The clutch shot put the Wildcats down two, 53-51, with six seconds left. Time for one last shot.
Looking for David Olson, the junior dribbled the ball down the sideline, only to step out of bounds, giving Milaca the ball right back. Several members of the Chisago faithful swore that Olson was pushed out of bounds, others didn’t think so. As for Jangor, he doesn’t care.
“Bottom line, you put yourself in a position to get beat when you commit 21 turnovers, give up 17 offensive rebounds, and you miss four of six free throws that could have iced it,” replied Jangor. “The referees didn’t lose that game for us, we put ourselves in position to get beat.”
Still leading 53-51, Milaca drained a free throw, making the score 54-51 with two second to plays. A last second desperation three-pointer by Todd Froberg missed the mark, putting an end to a controversial and demoralizing 53-51 loss.
“The kids weren’t ready to play mentally. They turned it on when they thought they had to,” said Jangor. “You have to come to play for 32 minutes. You have to have that type of attitude to win and we didn’t have it that night.”
Individually, Olson led the Wildcats with 24 points while Golv chipped in with eight. The loss snapped the ‘Cats two game winning streak, dropping their conference record to 2-3.
Chisago Lakes 51
1 2 3 4 F
Milaca 12 9 20 13 54
Chisago Lakes 11 15 15 10 51
Olson 24, Golv 8, Secord 6, Corradi 4, Johnson 4, Brelje 2, Lallier 2.
Chisago Lakes 60
Pine City 51
Just days after suffering arguably their toughest loss of the season, things got worse last Friday in Pine City, at least for the first 12 minutes.
The Dragons jumped on Chisago in the first quarter on both ends of the quarter, outscoring the ‘Cats in the opening frame 10-4. Devin Swanberg and Trevor Johnson were the only Wildcats who managed to score in the first as the ‘Cats began to sink.
The hole got bigger early in the second. Pine City widened the gap on the scoreboard, moving in front by 14 points at one point, 28-14. Chisago had hit rock bottom, but as the saying goes, things have to get worse before they can get better.
“We were down 28-14, the kids were frustrated, the coaches were frustrated, the fans were going nuts in the gym, it was crazy,” remembered Jangor. “At that point, they were shoveling dirt on us, we were as good as dead. But some of the kids refused to go down like that. Earlier in the season, the team might have folded, but some of the guys decided to fight back. They made up their minds to fight back together.”
Did they ever. After being down 28-14 midway through the second, th Wildcats made it 28-26 in a flash, running off 12 straight points. giving them not only momentum, but more importantly, confidence.
“The kids did a great job making the extra pass, even sometimes passing up their own shot to get even a better one. As a team, they all stepped it up when things were going against them,” said Jangor. “We started to play team basketball, that’s what was missing against Milaca.”
The player who benefited the most from the team concept was David Olson. After scoring 13 in the second quarter alone, Olson continued his hot hand in the second, adding 14 more, including two three-pointers. Meanwhile, on defense, the Wildcats shutdown Pine City, holding the Dragons to seven points in the third quarter on two field goals. At the end of three, Chisago had turned a two point deficit into a nine point lead, outscoring Pine City in quarter 18-7!
The snowball continued to grow. While the Dragons attempted to fight back, Chisago Lakes stuck with what got them there, getting the ball to Olson who scored 13 more in the fourth (13 of the 16 fourth quarter points for Chisago), giving him a game total of 40 points. Simply put, Pine City didn’t have an answer, falling 60-51.
“The kids made the extra pass all night and that led to a big night by David,” commented Jangor. “The kids recognized that he was in the zone and they found him. All season we have been talking about recognizing who has the hot-hand and getting them the ball. They did that, it’s really a credit to everyone on the team. The game was one of those games where we made some major steps forward. The kids could’ve quit when they were down but they chose to battle back. That’s the best thing that came out of that game. We didn’t give up and fought back as a team. We won by playing team basketball.”
Along with Olson’s 40 points, Froberg was next in scoring for the Wildcats with seven, Johnson finished with six. The victory evened the ‘Cats conference mark at 3-3 on the season with St, Michael-Albertville and Zimmerman on the way.
Chisago Lakes 60
Pine City 51
1 2 3 4 F
Chisago Lakes 4 22 18 16 60
Pine City 10 18 7 13 51
Olson 40, Froberg 7, Johnson 6, Secord 3, Corradi 2, Swanberg 2.