January 26, 2012 at 8:34 a.m.
Chisago Lakes finally found a team that can come close to matching up with them in size, and it caused them a bit of headaches before they closed out the Spring Lake Park Panthers early last week.
The Panthers feature Christina Wakeman, who is 6'3" to play defense on CL's Bryanna Fernstrom, plus they have a 5'11" guard who can attempt to contain Whitney Tinjum, the 'Cats star guard.
The Wildcats used the press on defense and some balanced scoring to take an early 10- point lead at halftime. Tinjum did her normal damage, scoring from the outside and from the charity stripe, scoring 14 points by the break. Fernstrom had nine points and Annie Stenson had seven at halftime.
Wakeman didn't get many good looks inside with Fernstrom and Land playing defense on her, but SLP's Taylor Loiselle found success from the outside, hitting three three pointers to keep the Panthers within reach.
Spring Lake Park flipped the switch on Chisago Lakes, using the press on them in the second half, and that severely limited CL's offense.
Despite the improvements by SLP in the second half, Chisago Lakes was still able to fend them off, winning 65-61.
The game came down to free throws for the Wildcats, and like they have all season, they made sure the opportunities counted.
Tinjum hit two key free throws with only a minute left and Hannah Trandahl helped to ice it, hitting five-of-six free throws in the waning minutes. She went nine-for-12 on the night on her way to 11 points.
Tinjum ended with a game-high 22 points and Fernstrom had 16 points and 11 boards in the winning effort.
Chisago Lakes 66, St. Louis Park 47
This one wasn't quite as tough down the stretch, but it was a battle early on.
"The first half was tough for us, as we shot just 29 percent from the field," Head Coach Craig Walker said. "We were getting plenty of quality looks inside, but they just were not falling."
The Orioles also were doing their part on offense, getting to the line 13 times in the first half, but they were only able to make six of them for a less than 50 percent pace.
At the break, the freezing cold Wildcats were only winning 25-21 after having a near 30 point lead at halftime in the two team's first meeting earlier this year.
Tinjum and Fernstrom each had 10 points at the break, combining for 20 of CL's 25 points.
In the second half, the Wildcats got back to the play that had propelled them on their six-game winning streak in the first place.
"We spoke about poise, continuing to play together, and offensively, attacking the basket when we get it in the paint," Walker said of his halftime plans. "We were able to get both Whitney and Hannah Trandahl open off the drive and free to make plays on their own or to pass to Bry on the drive."
The lead quickly ballooned to double digits, but St. Louis Park held tough, even narrowing the gap to two points at one point. But, two key Orioles' fouled out early, allowing CL to go on a big run to end the game and coast to their sixth win in a row, and their fifth victory in the North Suburban.
Tinjum had one of her best total games as a senior, scoring 29 points and grabbing an amazing 23 rebounds on the night. Her height and athleticism was just too much for SLP to handle.
Fernstrom also had a double-double, scoring 20 points and grabbing 11 boards.
CL had a pretty easy match up with Columbia Heights earlier this week, but in the next week, they travel to both Benilde-St. Margaret's, who's handed them one of their three losses on the year so far and is ranked third in the state in Class AAA, and Robbinsdale Cooper, who is 13-3 on the year and ranked seventh in Class AAA.
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