January 28, 2010 at 9:47 a.m.
Chisago Lakes had to know coming in that it was going to be a tough game against the second rated team in Class AAA.
The Benilde-St. Margaret's Red Knights are 14-1 on the season, and their only loss was to the Class AAAA St. Francis Saints.
Although BSM was ranked so high, Chisago Lakes was actually in front of them in the North Suburban Conference standings going into the game. The 'Cats sported a spotless 5-0 record while the Red Knights were 4-1.
Those records were evened out at the end of the night, though.
Although the 'Cats went down in the game early, they battled back before halftime and only trailed by seven points at the halfway mark.
"The Red Knight physical defense was causing fits for our offense as we turned the ball over 12 times in the first half," Head Coach Craig Walker explained. "But, Whitney Tinjum and Zoe Hansen led the team with 12 and 6 points each in the first half, and they kept us around."
However, the Red Knights balanced scoring was evident in the first half, as they attacked the 'Cats from all angles. The main angle, however, was Josie Dillon, who hit three three-pointers in the opening half.
Coming out in the second half, the Wildcats actually cut the lead to three with back-to-back baskets by Tinjum and Kasie Shoberg, but that was as close as they'd get. As BSM steadily gained composure and steam, CL swiftly lost theirs, and the game got ugly.
As the starters tired for the 'Cats, Benilde flaunted their depth, subbing in waves of capable reserves.
Only Tinjum was able to break double digits for the 'Cats, scoring 22 points on the night.
Chisago Lakes 75, Fridley 57
After their first NSC loss of the season, the Wildcats rebounded with a big road win over Fridley.
"Taking the trip to play at Fridley is always a difficult task," Walker said. "They play tough, physical 'D' and are always willing to go at you in the post. This is the only match up this season between with them and as a section team as well, this was a big game after the loss to BSM."
The 'Cats responded well to the big game. Although they quickly fell back after a 7-0 run by the Tigers to begin the game, but CL kept their composure and responded well.
The catalyst to the comeback was Hannah Trandahl, who nabbed six steals in the first half alone when the 'Cats went to a press defense.
The defense, combined with Tinjum's scoring prowess -- she scored 12 in the first half -- led to a 13-point cushion for CL at halftime.
Fridley came out in the second half and focused solely on limiting Tinjum. That strategy worked on Tinjum, but Summer Young quickly made them pay for it by scoring nine of CL's first 11 points in the second half. She also recorded 10 assists on the night, five in each half.
"This was a great rebound game for us after playing BSM tough for three quarters of a game and then losing our composure," Walker said. "It really could have been a bigger margin of victory had we converted more of our lay-ups and close in shots in transition. On the other hand, it would have much closer had Caitlyn McKernon -- Fridley's best post player -- not gone down with her injury."
Young ended the game with 18 points, the first time anyone other than Tinjum has led the 'Cats in scoring this year, and 10 assists. Tinjum had 17 points and 11 rebounds, Trandahl had 10 points, and Ristow added nine points and 10 rebounds.