St. Francis came to North Branch last Friday and was sent home with a 66-56 loss by the undefeated Viking girls basketball team.
“This was our first conference game and a nice win over a very athletic St. Francis team,” coach Dan Schindler said. “St. Francis really can give teams matchup problems, and they are relentless in shooting the that three-pointer.”
For the game, St. Francis made eight of 22 three-point attempts. It was a very close first half with North Branch leading by one point, 27-26, at halftime.
“I thought we played a very good defensive first half and limited St. Francis to only two first half three-pointers,” Schindler said. “At the end of the half we got a little tired and didn’t move our feet, and St. Francis got to the free throw line more than I would have liked.”
But the second half was a different story.
“In the second half we kind of turned the table on them as we built an 11- point lead by hitting some key three-pointers,” Schindler said. “Haley Huset, Courtney Selbitschka, Annette Olson and Mikayla Carlson all hit from long range. But, St. Francis also has that game and they hit five three-pointers to close the gap to four points with five minutes left.”
The teams were blazing from outside the arc, but Schindler noted North Branch’s inside game was the difference.
“I thought we had two advantages that won the game,” Schindler said. “One was our inside game with Sarah Lekson. Sarah was able to post up and get us some key baskets. The other advantage we had was at the free throw line. For the game, we made 24 of 38. We made 12 more free throws than St. Francis.”
North Branch girls basketball head coach Dan Schindler netted his 400th career win last Friday. Coach Schindler has been coaching at North Branch for a total of 33 years, seven as an assistant coach. He now has a 400-247 overall record after being a head coach for 26 years.
“I have been very fortunate to have some great basketball players and coaches in our program,” Schindler said. “I have never made a shot or got a rebound in those wins. You have to give my players most of the credit. I have had many talented and dedicated players. I also have had many coaches behind the scenes who work very hard and don’t get enough credit, including my staff this year.”
The North Branch girls basketball team has a 1-0 North Suburban Conference and 5-0 overall record. The Vikings will travel to Fridley to face the Tigers at 5:45 p.m. Dec. 21.