December 14, 2006 at 7:50 a.m.
After 10 minutes Robatcek already had four two pointers. The only other NB points came from senior guard Amy Aho, who scored after a nice feed from classmate Ellie Fairbanks. Two minutes later, Gab Olson hit from the field and the Viking six-point lead was back.
However, just after that, the Panthers started to find the range from the arc. In the final eight minutes of the first half, SLP dropped in four three pointers and a variety of other long range jumpers. At the 3:21 mark, one of those three’s gave the Panthers a 17-16 lead, their first of the game.
Despite two Randi Zentner hoops, four more points from Robatcek and a drive by Tiffany Good, the Vikings were outscored 20-10 in the last part of the half. That run gave the Panthers a 26-22 halftime bulge and the momentum going into the locker room.
In the second stanza, SLP continued to show patience on the offensive end and was able to convert open shots when it got them. The Panther advantage grew to 11 at the 5:35 mark. With the score 43-32, the Vikings brought full-court pressure. It paid some dividends and, as a result of an Aho three point play with 2:27 to go, the Vikings had climbed to within six.
But, that 45-39 edge was as close as the home team could get. With the Vikings forced to foul to stop the clock, the Panthers pulled away for a 55-41 conference win.
“We seem to get out of the gate okay, but have a hard time maintaining our consistency on offense. Right now we are not shooting the basketball well enough as a team and it’s hard to win games when you’re around the 40 mark on offense,” said North Branch head coach Dan Schindler.
“Another problem we are having and we will all year is some of the matchups in the paint. Spring Lake really had a size advantage on us and we have to work so hard stopping their post players that it’s wearing us down as the game goes on. We did a nice job on their 6'1" post in the first half (only 4 points), but she scored 10 in the second half,” the coach added.
“Rebounding is going to be an issue for us all year. And, when we doubled her, their guards hurt us, making five three pointers. The girls really worked hard, but we missed too many shots to get back in the game. Kristen Robatcek had her best game of the year, scoring 21 points,” Schindler continued.
Tiffany Good had nine rebounds for the Vikings and Gab Olson handed out six assists.
Spring Lake Park 26 29 55
North Branch 22 19 41
North Branch Scoring
Tiffany Good 8
Randi Zentner 5
Kristen Robatcek 21
Amy Aho 5
Gabrielle Olson 2
Mahtomedi at North Branch
The Vikings ended a frustrating week by dropping to 1-3 for the year by losing to Mahtomedi 48-40 at North Branch Friday, December 8. As they had in earlier losses to Chisago Lakes and Spring Lake Park, the Vikings got off to an early lead, only to trail at halftime.
“The second half was back and forth and we actually led 33-31 with about six minutes left,” said North Branch head coach Dan Schindler. “But we failed to score on our next eight possessions and Mahtomedi took the lead.”
With 30 seconds left and trailing by four points, North Branch stole the ball and missed a lay-up. “That’s just the way our season has gone so far. Their big post player gave us trouble as she had 16 points and many second shots,” Schindler continued.
The Zephyrs scored 16 points on second shots. “We just have to block out better. We can’t give good teams that many second chance opportunities. The girls are working hard and it’s certainly not because of lack of effort. It’s still early and we will keep working. There are no easy nights anymore, so we need to get better to compete. I am confident we can break out of this shooting slump we are in right now,” Schindler concluded.
Mahtomedi 23 25 48
North Branch 20 20 40
North Branch Scoring
Kacie Ramberg 2
Tiffany Good 16
Ellie Fairbanks 4
Megan Scherer 6
Amy Aho 2
Gabrielle Olson 8
Ashley Johnson 2
The Vikings host Fridley December 15 and play at Benilde-St. Margaret’s Tuesday, December 19.