2 Games; 1 Blog

January 24

Girls Basketball:  Fergus Falls – 51, Alexandria – 43

Well, we’re more than half way through the winter sports season – my favorite season.  The Cardinal girls hockey team only has one game left in the regular season.  On Thursday night, they defeated River Lakes, 5 – 1; on Friday night, they defeated Hibbing, 5 – 2, and Saturday afternoon . . . you have to read the “story” following that for the girls basketball game against Fergus Falls from Friday night . . . 

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[I arrived in time for the entire 2nd half of the JV game.  I thought there was a scoreboard malfunction when it showed the Otters with a 29 – 13 (as I recall?) lead at the half . . . ]

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[Here’s Maggie Anderson (45), 6’1′ sophomore, at the line late in the game . . . ]

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[She made at least one of the free throws (again, as I recall) . . . ]

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[As the Cards played pressure Wendy-ball the whole half, gradually reeled in the Otters, and then – won it!]

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[It would be tougher for the varsity game.  The Otters were riding a 14-game winning streak and had beaten the Cardinals earlier in the year at their place . . . ]

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[If it was the normal pre-game discussion, it was likely about post-game dining . . . ]

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[Other fans included Chuck (front row left, back cap) . . . ]

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[And Goldy (standing, white cap), who are regular gym rats with us in the mornings . . . ]

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[A little warm-up, matching the outdoor temperature which finally produced some dry pavement for the walk in from the parking lot . . . ]

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[The Cardinal brain trust . . . ]

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[The starters:  Jaya Hatlestad (3) . . . ]

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[Mia McGrane (5) . . . ]

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[Ella Grove (11) . . . ]

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[Myah Kremer (15) . . . ]

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[Mataya Hoelscher (23) . . . ]

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[Ella jumped center . . . ]

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[And got the tap . . . ]

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[The Otters jumped out to an early 13 – 4 lead . . . ]

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[And that proved to be too big to overcome.  Myah at the free throw line . . . ]

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[Then Mia . . . ]

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[Then Summer Gerhardt (35) . . . ]

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[In basketball, there is just no substitute for tall guards.  The Cardinals last long run in the state tournament featured starting guards who were 5’8″ and 5’9″, very tall for the high school level.  And it was here the Otters had the advantage.  They similarly have guards who are 5’8″ and 5’9″, and though they are only sophomores they led the Otters to the state tournament last year as freshmen . . . ]

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[Here Mia guards the Otters Ellie Colbeck (5), who at 5’9″ with a complete game, must be on the radar of Division 1 coaches . . . ]

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[The first half, quite obviously, was a real defensive struggle . . . ]

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[The starters came out for the 2nd half.  This is not the usual starting five, but it fluxuates.  But it’s amazing that only one of these players is taller than 5’8″ . . . ]

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[But when you essentually have 10 starters, rotating 2 or 3 players with every stoppage of play, you can be very effective . . . ]

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[Myah exits stage left, while Ella screens . . . ]

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[Then breaks herself . . . ]

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[The Cards were constantly having to break through tough Otter picks . . . ]

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[Mia passes around Colbeck, as the No. 5’s cover each other . . . ]

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[Myah drives while Ella fights for underneath position . . . ]

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[And then shot free throws . . . ]

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[Mataya tries her hand on Colbeck . . . ]

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[And then Colbeck launched a 3, something at which she excels.  I think the final difference in the game was their ability to shoot over our guards, but our guards had trouble shooting over theirs . . . ]

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[Ella on the free throw line . . . ]

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[With Cate Bloom (21), one of the 10 starters, on the lane . . . ]

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[Ella inbounds late . . . ]

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[Later breaks for the basket . . . ]

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[While Myah inbounds the ball . . . ]

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[Jaya with the ball underneath, with an attempted block by the taller Otter (4) behind her.  The Otters opened up the final margin to 8 with free throws at the end.  They were the better team on this night.  On the 27th, the Cards traveled to Bemidji, won handily 60 – 39, improved their record to 15 – 5 with a chance at the No. 1 seed in the section . . . ]

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January 25

Girls Hockey:  Alexandria – 1, Grand Rapids/Greenway – 0

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[As the Cards prepared for their 3rd game in 42 hours, the JV played a game with a unique ending . . . ]

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[The Cards led 1 – 0 when the Lightning pulled their goalie in an attempt to tie the game.  But the puck broke loose and a Cardinal got to it first with an empty goal in front of her.  She was tripped from behind.  In a normal situation, she would have been awarded a penalty shot.  But in an empty net situation, you are simply awarded the goal.  I did not know that.  Cards won 2 – 0 . . . ]

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[The varsity came out looking surprisingly fresh.  Oh, to have young legs . . . ]

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[At the opening jump ball, Ella Westlund (19) and Haney Block (28) bracketed . . . ]

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[Center Marki Oberg (10) . . . ]

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[Cards on the offense with Anna Doherty (7), with the puck, and Kaci Trosvig (25) . . . ]

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[Kaci almost . . . ]

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[Takes out the goalie . . . ]

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[Alli Castle (22) on defense . . . ]

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[Kaci in on goal again with Lauren Maras (27) . . . ]

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[Anna on one side of the goal, Kaci on the other as the puck exits behind her . . . ]

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[Marki fired a shot gloved by the Lightning goalie . . . ]

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[But chases it down . . . ]

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[Hanley fires a shot from the left circle . . . ]

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[Ella and Marki . . . ]

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[As you can see, though the Cards often pressured, the Lightning always had their entire team defending the goal . . . ]

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[A good, fast paced, evenly played 1st period . . . ]

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[Shortly into the 2nd, Kaci put the Cards on the board first with a wraparound backhander . . . ]

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[Marki faces off in the Lightning zone . . . ]

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[And directs the puck toward the net . . . ]

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[Quoting the Dave Clark 5, here we come again, woo-oo-oo, with Makenna Aure (17) . . . ]

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[Anna and Riley Nyberg (21) mix it up with the Lightning . . . ]

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[Peyton Boesl (6) in the corner backed by Anna . . . ]

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[Makenna awaiting the puck arrival at the point . . . ]

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[And there’s a big mess in front of the goal . . . ]

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[Big mess continued . . . ]

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[Makenna made a couple of really nifty full ice rushes, a unique talent . . . ]

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[After 2, still a really good game . . . ]

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[Cards come out really nervous for the 3rd . . . oh, they’re laughing?]

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[Kaci faced off . . . ]

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[Lauren’s the first one in . . . ]

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[Kaci is fended off by the Lightning goalie – both goalies, Jordan O’Kane (1) for us and Makenzie Cole (31) for them had really solid games . . . ]

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[Cardinals swarm again . . . ]

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[Lightning fend us off again . . . ]

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[Kaci, a final attempt . . . ]

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[Not quite . . . ]

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[Though Anne and Lauren contested it . . . ]

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[Best game I’ve seen in a long time.  The Cards were really flying against a good Lightning team.  The Cards now head into their final regular season game with a solid 15-6-3 season.]

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They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they’d make up their minds.  ~  Wilt Chamberlain

Up Next: London?

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