A Tale of two tigers

Princeton and Fridley fall to the Vikings in girls hoops

Last week the North Branch girls basketball team defeated both the Princeton Tigers and the Fridley Tigers.

First up the Vikings outscored Princeton 52-36.

“This was actually a much closer game than the final score indicated,” said coach Dan Schindler. “We trailed by two points at half time, and we led 37-36 with five minutes remaining. But we finished the game outscoring Princeton on a 15-0 run. I was really happy with both our second half defense and the way we finished strong down the stretch on the road.”

Schindler continued, “We always talk about winning the game on the free throw line, and Courtney Selbitschka and Haley Huset were able to make seven of eight free throws in the last five minutes to secure the win. I thought Annette Olson, Taylor Gazda, Jessica Merchant and Emily Trunk played great post defense. Morgen Coleman and Taylor Gazda continue to improve and gave us some needed offense in that second half.

“It was a great team win as everyone contributed and gave us quality minutes. It was another section win for us and pretty much secured us the No. 3 seed in the upcoming tournament. Final seedings will come out Saturday, Feb. 23, but with this win we should get a first round home game,” Schindler noted.

Up next for the Vikings was another match-up with the Tigers, but this time it was Fridley in a home game Friday night. North Branch cruised to a 46-24 victory.

“We played great team defense the whole game,” said Schindler. “Our goal is always to try to give the opponent one shot per possession. We did a great job of doing that against Fridley. We were able to hold Fridley to only six first half points, and we led 21-6 at halftime.”

Coach added, “Offensively I would have liked to see some more ball reversals, but we did enough to get some good shots. We need to finish more of the easy shots we get and be consistent in that aspect of our game. Haley really has stepped up her game in the absence of Sarah Lekson and has led this team.

“We also for the first time in nine games saw the return of Sarah Lekson. She had very limited minutes, but it was really nice to see Sarah back on the court. We plan to increase her minutes this week to get her ready for the tournament,” Schindler said.

The North Branch girls basketball team is fifth in the North Suburban Conference with an 8-6 conference and 18-6 overall record. The Vikings will compete in the first round of the Section 7AAA Championships at the home of the high seed at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23. A win will send them to the quarterfinals at the home of the high seed at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26. Check for section updates on Scoreboard Plus at www.ecmpostreview.com.

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