February 22, 2007 at 8:17 a.m.
The NSC foes fought throughout the first half, with neither team able to pull away. Wildcat center Josh Figini led his team with eight first half points. Senior Zach Sill provided scoring support with six before the break. When the buzzer sounded, the Wildcats led 29-28.
"It's a tough place to play, but we never really got going," said Wildcat head coach Herb Jangor. "We didn't come to play on offense or defense."
In the second half, Figini matched his first half offensive output with eight points. Four second half triples helped the 'Cats stay in the lead. Brian Jennissen and Kyle Hogie each hit from the arc once and Taylor Jones hit twice from long range to aid the cause.
"They lost to Spring Lake Park in overtime, so I knew they were going to be tough," Jangor said. "They never give up and they're very athletic. We had a 12 point lead with about six minutes to go. We went into a zone and one of their guys got hot. He made a three and we fouled him." The shooter missed the freethrow and Heights made the putback.
"Then, we made some poor choices and the 12 point lead was gone. They took a three at the buzzer that went in-and-out. On their floor, we we're happy to get away with the win. Figini played well for us on offense and Tyler Bouwens had a good game. He had five assists and handled their press very well," the coach commented.
Chisago Lakes 29 30 59
Columbia Heights 28 30 58
Chisago Lakes Scoring
Kyle Hogie 6
Chris Golv 8
Brian Jennissen 6
Taylor Jones 8
Zach Sill 10
Josh Figini 16
Joe Knafla 4
Troy Aadland 3
Justin Rivard 2
Scott Leigh 2
Spring Lake Park at CL
The Wildcats fell behind early and were never able to recover as the Spring Lake Park Panthers defeated the home team 54-41 Friday, February 16.
Trailing 26-13, the 'Cats started a comeback when senior captain Zach Sill hit a two with five minutes remaining in the first half. A minute later, Brian Jennissen intercepted a Panther pass and raced to the Wildcat hoop. He was fouled, but dropped the two free shots. At 3:35, Sill backed his defender into the lane and scored to make it 26-19.
CL had opportunites in the next few minutes, but couldn't capitalize as the Panthers built their lead to 30-19. With 1:10 left, Chris Golv drove, drew the SLP defenders to himself, and dished the ball to Joe Knafla, who powered his way into the lane and scored from the left side. At halftime, the Wildcats trailed 30-21.
"We had a defensive lapse in the first half that let them get 30 points," said coach Jangor.
Spring Lake Park scored the first two after the intermission. But, a Golv three at 16:50 was followed by a Josh Figini turnaround from 10 feet at 14:45. After the Panthers hit a two, Knafla converted two freethrows to narrow the Panther lead.
With a 34-28 lead at 12:26, Panther head coach Grant Guzy took a timeout, hoping to halt CL's momentum. It worked. His team scored the next seven on a freethrow and two three-pointers to build a 13-point, 41-28 lead with eight minutes to go.
Figini hit a short one and Scott Leigh, after a long pass from Sill, completed a fast break at 7:35 that closed the gap to 41-32. After a Panther basket at 7:25, Taylor Jones went to the line three times over the next two minutes. He made one freethrow on each trip and, at 5:18, the Wildcats trailed 43-35.
SLP was up 45-35 when the Wildcats started to stop the clock by fouling. At 3:09 they took their first of five trips to line. Panther shooters converted 9 of 10 foul shots in the last minutes to build a 16 point lead. When Jennissen hit an NBA three in the last minute, he made the final score 54-41.
The Wildcats played well defensively in the second half, but had trouble scoring, including going only 10 for 21 from the foul stripe. "They took us out everything we tried to do. They're a very efficient team. They're not fancy, they just do what they do very well. We didn't play as well as we're capable of, but they deserve credit for stopping us," Jangor added.
Chisago Lakes 21 20 41
Spring Lake Park 30 24 54
Chisago Lakes Scoring
Chris Golv 6
Brian Jennissen 5
Taylor Jones 5
Zach Sill 4
Josh Figini 9
Joe Knafla 5
Scott Leigh 7
The Wildcats host Cambridge-Isanti Saturday, February 24 at 7:30. They complete their conference schedule with road games at North Branch (Tuesday, February 27) and St. Louis Park (Friday, March 2). Both conference games are scheduled to start at 7:15.