Cardinal Girls are No. 1!

December 7

Alexandria Area High School

Last weekend the Cards, then No. 2 in the state Class AAA rankings, travelled to the Hopkins Tip-Off Tournament and defeated then No. 1-ranked DeLaSalle, 59 – 49.  This was their first game as the new No. 1 . . . 

[Yes, the Class of 65ers were back at the gym for the second night in a row (amazingly we duplicated the photo from the previous night), our Cards hosting the St. Cloud Tech Tigers . . . ]

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[A reminder . . . ]

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[This is a pre-game routine where the players try to toss an orange spheroid through the metal hoop attached to a glass backboard . . . ]

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[The idea is to make them a high percentage of the time . . . ]

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[Of course, there is an ongoing repartee concerning the finer point of academics . . . ]

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[This is senior center McKenzie Duwenhoegger.  How prescient of me to realize at this time that she would ultimately be selected player-of-the-game . . . ]

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[Introductions again, please:  Kaye Paschka (3), senior . . . ]

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[Mia McGrane (5), junior . . . ]

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[Ella Grove (11), junior . . . ]

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[Emily Jones (33), senior . . . ]

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[McKenzie (35) . . . ]

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[The tribal chant of early Norwegians . . . ]

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[The spheroid is lofted skyward by an official person to start the contest . . . ]

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[McKenzie rises after it . . . ]

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[And tips it back to a teammate . . . ]

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[One of those rare instances when a random photo catches the athletic elegance of the game . . . ]

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[Mia likely made a steal, or received an outlet pass, and streaked downcourt (or was it upcourt?) . . . ]

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[When you think of the factors that currently have us ranked No. 1, one could begin with guards Kaye and Mia.  They are 5’8″ and 5’7″, respectively, which is pretty good size for high school guards.  Plus, both are excessively mobile . . . ]

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[When you match them with three 6-footers on the front line, we have a lot of defensive wing span making things not much fun for the opposition . . . ]

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[Four starters with McKenzie just off camera . . . ]

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[Seen many times in her career, the back of No. 3 going in for a layup . . . ]

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[Mia at the foul line.  We’ve had a lot of early season rust from here so far . . . ]

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[Then Jonesie . . . ]

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[The ongoing nightmare for our opponents – to be double-team trapped by Ella and Kaye against the sideline and centerline.  The outcome could not have been favorable for the Tigers . . . ]

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[Hall of Fame coach Wendy Kohler well on the way to her 10 zillionth win . . . ]

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[We must be doing good – she appears speechless.  😉 ]

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[Jaya Hatlestad (13), sophomore, on line.  She’s part of the “line change” unit, as is Alayna Strand (25), sophomore, when Kohler subs in 3 – 5 players at a time, not unlike hockey . . . ]

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[Here’s Alayna shooting, with “line change” partner Cate Bloom (21) sophomore . . . ]

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[Ella and Kaye back in and in full court press mode.  The full court defense is always in mode until the game gets out of hand . . . ]

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[Yup, it’s an effort just to get the ball inbounded . . . ]

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[Ella on the line, with mixed “lines” on the court now . . . ]

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[This may be our trickery play.  Ella inbounds to Jonesie, who fakes a hand off to Ella coming around the outside, then Jonesie turns inside dribbles along the baseline for a layup.  Worked perfectly . . . ]

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[Cate’s another ball hawk who’s driving in after a steal . . . ]

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[I remember a game last year where some young quick guards were giving us fits. Cate, then a freshman and not playing much, came in and turned the game around with her defense . . . ]

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[When you’re in the 3rd row, you’re pretty much up close and personal.  Ella is our usual inbounder . . . ]

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[Kaye starting the offense with a pass to the right flank . . . ]

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[Then cuts hard to the center – if she gets open, Ella will hit her . . . ]

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[The Tigers are thinking, I don’t want the ball . . . ]

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[Here Summer Gerhardt (1), junior, has joined Ella and Kaye with the pressure defense . . . ]

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[Mataya Hoelscher (23) goes for the steal with Cate coming in to assist . . . ]

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[No, it’s mine!]

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[At the half, the Tigers finally got a few open looks late – they could make shots when they didn’t have a Cardinal in their face . . . ]

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[Kaye, meditating or napping, before she goes into full energy mode again . . . ]

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[I am oft asked, “So, just how fast is Kaye Paschka?” Well, last night we were sitting in the 3rd row and when she dashed by on one of her forays to the basket, the part in my hair changed sides!  She is a track star and will be doing such at Augustana next year, if I remember right . . . ]

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[The rare home game radio broadcast . . . ]

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[We’ll close this out with McKenzie on the foul line, and Ella displaying the smile of a game in hand . . . ]

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[The game went to running time with 9 minutes left, which is the rule I believe when a team has a 40+-point lead.  The Cards are mostly away now until January – only one more home game until then.  There’s some challenging road games ahead, so they get to test their mettle . . . ]

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A lot of people are afraid of heights. Not me, I’m afraid of widths. ~  Steven Wright

Up Next:  Maybe a return to Spain . . .

2 thoughts on “Cardinal Girls are No. 1!

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