January 29, 2004 at 1:33 p.m.
The North Branch Vikings finished their first round of conference games the exact opposite way they started it, but winning. After starting the conference season 0-2, the Vikings charged back by winning six of their next seven conference games, including wins over Zimmerman and Big Lake last week.
Versus Zimmerman, the Thunder took the Vikings by surprise in the first quarter, scoring 16 points. Meanwhile, on the other side of the court, North Branch managed 18 points, giving them a narrow two point advantage after one. A two point lead over Zimmerman? A first year program? Is that right?
It was. However, in the second, things returned to normal as the Thunder quieted down and North Branch heated up, outscoring Zimmerman 22-4 in the quarter, giving them a 40-20 lead at the break.
As dominating as the second quarter was for North Branch, they went above and beyond in the third, dominating Zimmerman, outscoring the Thunder 24-2, all of that while most of the Vikings starters had all ready packed up their sneakers for the night.
In short, the North Branch bench didn’t miss a beat, adding 19 more points in the fourth, completing a 83-33 win.
‘It was nice to get all of our bench players a lot of playing time,” said Dan Schindler, North Branch girls basketball head coach. “We had nine of our 12 players score and saw some good minutes from our subs.”
Jenny Anderson led the Vikings attack with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Right behind her was Megan Stegmeir, Katie Hasleiet, and Vashaity Center who each struck for 10, and Tiffany Good added nine. Freshman guard Gabi Olson finished the game with nine assists.
The win put the Vikings conference record at 5-3 with Big Lake up next, marking the halfway point of the Rum River conference season.
North Branch 83
1 2 3 4 F
North Branch 18 22 24 19 83
Zimmerman 16 4 2 11 33
Anderson 20, Stegmeir 10, Hasleiet 10, Center 10, Good 9, Olson 8, Lundeen 8, Klein 6, Brown 2.
North Branch 41
Big Lake 23
Last Friday’s match-up was completely different from the Zimmerman game. How different? Consider that the Vikings scored 40 points in the first half versus Zimmerman, and against Big Lake, they finished with 41 for the game!
Actually, about the only thing that was same when comparing the two games was the result.....a Vikings win.
The Vikings key to victory centered around one thing and one thing only, their defense.
North Branch controlled the game early with their defense, holding the Hornets to four points, allowing them to jump in front 11-4 after one.
In the second, the flow, and the result, completely reversed. After outscoring Big Lake 11-4 in the first, the Hornets outscored the Vikings 10-3 in the second quarter, tying the game 14-14 at halftime.
“We just had a bad second quarter,” mentioned Schindler. “Part of it was we took some bad shots and the other part was the shots weren’t going in.”
The second quarter turned out to be the Vikings only hiccup of the game. In the third, North Branch re-took control of the game, dominating both ends of the court. It was a total team effort, especially on offense where the Vikings outscored the Hornets 21-6. Everyone got involved.
“Jenny Anderson, Tiffany Good, and Katie Hasleiet took over scoring from the inside and outside in that third quarter,” remembered Schindler. “Katie and Tiffany hit some outside shots and Jenny dominated the paint. Tiffany has really been starting to play well and she gave us a spark in that third quarter.”
The third quarter proved to be the difference. Leading 35-20 after three, the Vikings increased their lead to 18 in the fourth en route to a 41-23 win. Anderson finished the game with 22 points, leading all scorers. But again, defense was the key, holding the Hornets to under six points or less in three of the four quarters.
“We played four quarters of very good defensive basketball,” mentioned Schindler. “It was our best defensive effort of the year.”
The win was the Vikings sixth conference of the season tying them for third place in the Rum River. Up next, two more conference games this week with Foley and Princeton.
North Branch 41
Big Lake 23
1 2 3 4 F
Big Lake 4 10 6 3 23
North Branch 11 3 21 6 41
Anderson 22, Hasleiet 8, Brown 5, Good 4, Olson 2.