So, the first thing we heard from fellow fans when we got to the gym last night was that Kalli wouldn’t be playing. Kalli Bowser, our starting center, had apparently been really sick, fainted, fell and broke her nose in two places! Yikes! The good news was at least she was on the bench for her teammates, but we don’t know how long she’ll be out. Our next game is at home against Willmar on Friday, then two more home games next Tuesday and Thursday. I would doubt Kalli will be able to play in any of those games. (As player-of-the-game against Moorhead she mentioned she was already looking forward to the Fergus game on the 17th. Maybe with a mask?)
Injuries are a great equalizer, of course, and determinative of how well any team is going to fare over the course of a season. Our only loss this year was the first game when starting point guard Cara Wood was out with a sprained ankle.
And here came the tough St. Cloud Tech Tigers. I recall last year they gave us our physically most draining game – our team was spent at the end. They have good athletes and were able to pressure us the entire game. This year they came within 6 points of 2nd-ranked in the state and undefeated Fergus, and recently beat Sartell by 9.
Meanwhile, back at the game. Dani Strater started in Kalli’s spot – so we had four 5’9″ players and 6’1″ Whitney. The Tigers had two players taller than Whitney. As usual, I videoed the first 5 minutes of the game because we generally start fast with our pressure. We were a little shaky at the beginning – but you can see Tech had something to do with that (and you get to hear the band!):
[LT warms up – on her way to a 32-point game!]
[Amanda and LT discuss strategy.]
[Dani, on the right]
[Point guards of the future: Karly Betterman (l) had just led the JV’s to a 44-25 win; Jess Syvrud (r) currently backs up Cara.]
[Do you ever shop at the Byerly’s there in downtown St. Cloud?]
[They have really good bread!!]
[Meanwhile, back at warm-ups.]
[Cheerleaders 🙂 ]
[LT makes a first half free throw.]
With maybe 5 minutes left in the first half, the Tigers led 30 – 24. They have a little gym rat (in the fondest sense) point guard who is one of the few players we’ve seen who can penetrate our 1-3-1 defense by whipping passes into the post (fortunately, she tries to make every pass an ESPN highlight, so they often went astray as well). They also had three players who could hit the 3, so it looked like it was going to be a hard fought battle. Then the Cards displayed what Clark Kellogg would call our spurtability – we finished the half on a 13 – 0 spurt . . . and the Tigers knew they were finished.
That great play continued through the 2nd half – the Cards working to perfection all the plays that got them into the state tournament last year. The wheel route whenever they were pressed full court – LT fakes in, then heads long and no one can run with her as she reels in length of the court passes for lay-ups. They also worked several backdoor passes to perfection – Cara was often the recipient of those. Cara had by far her best game of the year (shaking any residual concerns about her ankle) – she’s becoming more aggressive offensively, with 13 points, and she did a terrific job rebounding at the back of the 1-3-1.
Sometimes adversity yields opportunity. While watching warm-ups, Super Fan Ruth Anderson noted she had just seen Amanda Gould make 5-6 shots in a row from 15 feet on the right baseline. Amanda is a 5’11” sophomore star on the JV team but seldom gets in for varsity games. On this night her size made her an option. Dani battled valiantly underneath at 5’9″ but got into some foul trouble. Amanda (I guess we’re going to have call her Amanda G so not to be confused with Amanda C) spelled her – and scored 9 points, all in the 1st half! Since she had played the preceding JV game as well, we have to assume she really slept well last night.
Whitney was a force on the defensive wing again – it seemed she scored more than the listed four points, but they were key mid-range jumpers in the 2nd half as we continued to pull away. Amanda C again did a little bit of everything – scoring, rebounding, stealing, and assisting.
And then there’s Ms. Trumm. You never realize how many points she has because it’s always in the flow of the game – she never forces anything. But if they’re keeping track of fastbreak lay-ups, she must certainly be head and shoulders above all comers. LT can best be explained by her actions late in the game when the outcome was no longer in doubt – she got yet another deflection, then dove on the floor after it. I get tired just watching her.
[2nd half warm-ups – “We’re rolling now!”]
[Ms. Gould is No. 55.]
[Her big debut earned media coverage.]
[I didn’t realize until processing that Kalli was in this picture (seated). Here’s wishing her a speedy recovery!]
[“Go, go, go!”]
[“Let’s bring it on home, ladies!”]
[LT scores her 29th]
[Until next time.]
Bonus Coverage (i.e., the other side of the court) from the staff photographer (a/k/a, LT’s dad) of the holiday tournament:
[As alums from last year’s team, Brianna Ebert and Sam Trumm were able to command an entire section for the Moorhead game.]
[There are several people of note here and one guy who needs a nap.]
[Known for their abilities On Frozen Pond.]
[Past and current Cardinals reunite. The most athletic talent in one place since the last time Al Grundei golfed alone.]
The Cards, as good hosts should, greet the guesting Spuds – and then gather to talk about the “menu”:
[Dani on D]
The Alexandria Aces
Meanwhile, back at the game . . .
[Kalli and Spuds]
[The future: Karly and Jess]
[“Congratulations, we won!”]
Kalli was player-of-the-game:
The Robbinsdale Armstrong game:
[All-tournament team (from what would be my best side).]
Amanda C was player-of-the-game:
[We’re 8-1 now and enjoying the heck out of it!]