January 27, 2011 at 9:27 a.m.
Although it wasn't how they would've wanted it, the Wildcat girls basketball game kept their winning streak alive with a wildly finished game against Spring Lake Park early last week.
Although Chisago Lakes seemed to be the more talented and balanced team, Spring Lake Park was hot from beyond the arc. The Panthers knocked down eight three pointers on the night to keep pace.
Every time that Chisago Lakes would make a run, the Panthers would hit another three to turn the momentum back their way.
With a one point lead at halftime, the Wildcats opened the second half with eight quick points off of two Whitney Tinjum steals and a long assist from Hannah Trandahl. Despite the run, the Panthers kep close throughout.
With one minute left and Chisago Lakes clinging to a two point lead, SLP's Melissa Kidd made a long two-pointer to tie the game with 40 seconds left.
Head Coach Craig Walker said the Wildcats' plan was to be patient and move the ball around until they had an opportunity at the last shot of the game. Although the consensus was that the ball would end up in Tinjum's hands, Trandahl drove to the hoop as the seconds ticked off and she was fouled with just over two seconds left in the game. The Wildcats were in the double bonus, which was fortunate for them because Trandahl clanged the first free throw. With the game on the line, Trandahl sank the second free throw to give the 'Cats a one point lead.
A half court heave by Spring Lake Park went wide and the 'Cats hung on to win the game 71-70
Tinjum was her usual self, scoring inside and outside and from the free throw line. She had 15 first half points and 16 in the second half.
Kasie Shoberg scored five of her seven in the first half and Annie Stenson scored all six of her points on two threes in the first. Zoe Hansen had a good all around game, scoring five points, grabbing eight rebounds and swatting away two shots.
Walker did note that CL is trying different ways to get freshman post player Bryanna Fernstrom more involved in the game plan. "We are still trying to figure out how to use Bryanna effectively for an entire game. she had only four first half points, but 10 in the second half," he said. She also added eight rebounds and five blocks.
Chisago Lakes 59, Forest Lake 48
Although the Wildcats' offense had been carrying them lately, it was their staunch defense that finally made a return against Class 4A Forest Lake.
It was beautiful timing, too, as the shots just weren't falling for anyone throughout the game except for Fernstrom, who was six-of-eight from the field.
Along with Fernstrom, the 'Cats did manage to work their way to the free throw line a whole bunch, and that kept the Rangers at bay.
The free throw line was especially friendly to Tinjum, who broke Chisago Lakes' school record for both free throws made and free throws attempted when she went 19-of-22 over the course of the game. A lot of the fouls were a result of Forest Lake being worn down by the press and just not having the energy to play solid defense.
The Rangers shot just four-of-17 in the second half, and Fernstrom and Tinjum carried the offense as the 'Cats cruised to a victory. Tinjum had 25 points, with 19 coming from the free throw line and 11 rebounds. Fernstrom added 13 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
"It was a good defensive effort against a team dominated by post players. Forest Lake's big post player Bailey Norby did get 18 points, but the Wildcats limited everyone else," Walker said.
Hansen added six points and six rebounds to the winning effort and Trandahl had six points and five rebounds.
Chisago Lakes 48, St. Louis Park 33
Again, with the offense running stagnant, the Wildcat defense stepped up their game and locked down a conference opponent.
The Orioles actually held the edge at halftime, leading 19-15 when the Wildcats went icy cold from the field.
"This was as poor an offensive performance as you'll see in the first half as our shooting woes continued. Tinjum and Fernstrom had just two baskets each in the first," Walker said. "We failed to look for each other and turned the ball over against a pressure zone in the first half. We should have been able to get the ball inside early and often and dominate against a team that doesn't have size on the inside."
Despite the atrocious shooting, the Wildcats were still in it because of their defense. With nine minutes left, the 'Cats were down 25-23, but the Wildcats soon discovered their missing offensive game.
They went on a 25-8 run over the last nine minutes, including eight baskets from Fernstrom, as she simply overpowered her smaller opponents.
Both Brittney Land and were major keys in the big run late in the game. "They brought energy defensively and them causing turnovers helped us find the combination of players needed to win the game. Both Land and Stenson ended the game with six points each," Walker explained. "Coming off a big win against Forest Lake Thursday night, we were very sluggish and lacked any intensity throughout the first three-fourths of the game. We were finally able to get a combination of players out there that had the chemistry to play well enough to win the game."
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