January 29, 2015 at 1:41 p.m.
The second matchup on Thursday, January 22, however, lacked the suspense of the first one with Chisago Lakes running away early against the Vikings.
The Wildcats got out to an early lead at 10-2, but North Branch made the next two baskets to pull within 10-6. That’s when Jakob Lindquist began to take the game over. The senior guard was on fire from the field all night. He hit five-of-seven three pointers, six-of-seven field goals and four-of-four free throws to total 31 points.
At one point, Lindquist hit four three pointers in a short span of time, and all he could do was crack a slight grin after each made shot.
By halftime, Lindquist’s onslaught had afforded the Wildcats a 38-22 lead. He was aided by the slick point guard play of Ethan Hickcox and the bruising inside play of Dylan Wood.
North Branch was getting spirited play from point guard Matt Blomquist and post Cole Pearson, but it wasn’t enough to keep the game close.
Early in the second half, Chisago Lakes continued to pull away from the Vikings with an array of Lindquist baskets and pressure defense. Turnovers started to pile up for North Branch and the game got out of hand.
Both teams began to bring subs in off the bench to finish up the game and the Wildcats cruised to a 78-52 win. The Vikings were playing without Head Coach David Anderson on the sideline. He missed the game due to a personal matter, leaving the team short-handed in the county tussle.
The Wildcats were led by Lindquist’s 31 points. Hickcox had 14 points and six rebounds. Wood added 11 points and eight rebounds. Senior Will Gillach had a strong all-around game with seven points, six assists, five rebounds and four steals.
For the Vikings, Blomquist led the way with 11 points and Kyle Burnside and Cole Pearson each had 10.
In the second half of the Chisago County doubleheader, the girls took to the court in a much more balanced match up. The Wildcats were 6-9 heading into the game and North Branch was 6-7. But, CL had lost of their past five games while the Vikings had won three of their past four.
In the first half, Chisago Lakes enjoyed an early lead with Carmen Backes, Sarah Greene and Thea Kluge leading the charge. But, North Branch wouldn’t go away with Courtney Selbitschka being a defensive hound and sharpshooter all at once. Her pressure in the backcourt forced multiple Chisago Lakes turnovers that led to easy baskets.
By halftime, the Wildcats led 34-28, but Chisago Lakes Head Coach Craig Walker figured it could’ve been a bigger lead if not for the turnovers. “"If we could have taken care of the ball a little better early, the half time score wouldn't have been as close,” he said.
In the second half, Chisago Lakes was cold from the field and Selbitschka and Morgen Coleman slowly led a comeback from the Vikings. But, the Wildcats showed resiliency, despite their recent losing streak, and held on for the 55-52 win. "Two wins in a row is a streak. Something we haven't been able to accomplish since the first week of the season,” Walker said. "Our interior kids played well, especially in the first half with Sarah and Thea, and sometimes Carmen getting good looks and hitting their shots. We were a little cold from the elbow in the second half and didn't hit as many as NB started to come back."
With their second win in a row, things are starting to come together for Walker’s squad. “Carmen is playing well. She is taking care of the ball better while now splitting time with another freshman, Heather Elfering, at the point,” he said. “Sarah Greene is back to 100% percent and is now as active as ever in the lane. Thea Kluge, who’s only a freshman also, has been a starter and is in the same mold as Sarah, but with three point range.”
Both girls teams followed up the rough and tough match up with losses. The Wildcats dropped a 77-47 shellacking to conference leading St. Michael-Albertville and North Branch fell to Princeton by 10 points, 62-52.