“The Finishers”

February 10

Let’s begin at the end.  The Cardinal girls basketball team won its 12th straight game last night, 69 – 60 in OT over Becker, raising its record to 18 – 3 and its state ranking to 8th in class AAA.  How do they do it?  Volume!  (No, wait, that’s a different concept.)  They do it in the manner reflected in the following photo pilfered from the ‘Echo Press.’  Floor burns are merit badges as demonstrated here by Emma Schmidt and McKenzie Duwenhoegger.

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[It was the Winter Lakes Classic, an all day affair.  The Card boys beat Becker 83 – 73 in the final game . . . ]winter lakes classic - Copy

[The boys game between Pequot Lakes and Brackenridge went into OT.  A portent of things to come?]

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[I think this is some version of “Twist and Shout”?]

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[Let the game begin . . . ]

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[In the photo for the Cards:  Courtney Gould (31), senior; McKenzie Duwenhoegger (34), junior; Kaye Paschka (3), junior; and Ella Grove (11), sophomore; and likely hiding behind Courtney, Emma Schmidt (25), senior . . . ]

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[McKenzie goes up . . . ]

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[And wins the tap . . . ]

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[Likely back to Emma . . . ]

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[The Bulldogs had a bunch of freshman guards, including the ball handler here, Julia Bengston (11).  Therefore, Ella, our No. 11, is back defending her . . . ]

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[With Kaye moving in from the right flank . . . ]

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[Cards set the defense . . . ]

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[And it’s not like our defense wasn’t good in the first half . . . ]

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[It’s just that it seemed eveything the Bulldogs threw into the air, went through the hoop – including a high percentage of 3’s throughout the game . . . ]

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[Emma’s ability to contest passing lanes would ultimately become an issue for the Bulldogs . . . ]

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[In what must have been a defensive switch, Kaye ends up with the Bulldog center . . . ]

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[Oooops!  Ole!!]

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[Coach isn’t happy . . . ]

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[Mia McGrane (5), sophomore, and Alayna Strand (55), freshman, part of the Cardinals endless bench . . . ]

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[Alayna will be a nice fit at the point of the defense next year . . . ]

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[Planning begins for the 2nd half – adjustments have to be made when you’re down 36 – 20.  Kohler didn’t win 600 games by reading “The Life and Times of the Lima Bean” . . . ]

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[Of initial import, while we had good shots in the first half, they weren’t dropping.  So go to where you have a match-up advantage.  The Cards began working the ball inside to McKenzie, who scored 7 points in a row to begin the half, and Courtney . . . ]

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[McKenzie was either getting “and 1’s” or two free throw fouls – and she was knocking them down . . . ]

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[Kaye looks like it’s hard to defend when they ricochet passes off the ref’s head . . . ]

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[Kaye had a super game at point guard, with 17 points – many off key drives to the hoop in the 2nd half.  Here she demonstrates the art of the free throw . . . ]

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[Mataya Hoelscher (45), freshman, part of the freshmen cadre Kohler sent out to counter their freshmen guards.  It turned out to be a master stroke . . . ]

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[We knew we would make a comeback . . . but all the way from that far back? We finally cut the lead to under 10 with about 5 minutes left, but then they hit another 3. We were still down by 12 with about 4 minutes in the game. Could we . . . again? The Cards pressure defense and double team presses began yielding results. With our length and quickness we managed to make several steals down the stretch. Ella hit a big 3 late (the photo), and we tied the game in regulation!]

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[This is the pressure the Bulldogs experienced down the stretch . . . ]

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[The Card student section was really getting into it . . . ]

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[How ’bout that?]

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[The all-gnat line up began the OT.  With the length of Emma (jumping center) and Ella, Kohler sent out the equally opponent-annoying Kaye, Mataya, and freshman Cathryn Bloom (41), who made formidable contributions in the 2nd half . . . ]

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[Emma gets the tap . . . ]

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[Cathryn gets the free throws . . . ]

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[Emma began getting steals on the Bulldog in-bounds passes.  Ella fouled out, but we had the game under control by then . . . ]

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[Wendy was making offense (Courtney)-defense (the gnats) substitutions with every stoppage of play.  Here it looks like Mia on the line . . . ]

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[Emma and Cathryn lead the full-court defensive assault . . . ]

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From FB earlier in the evening:  Remember this? From last year? Well, tonight our Cards played Becker, and they have a freshman point guard. This video came immediately to mind. Yes, she did all these same things, could make 3-point shots, and was the star of the team . . . but it isn’t the same player? The player in the video is not on this year’s roster – moved away? But this year’s player, Julia Bengston, is equally adept at behind the back dribbles with ankle breaking crossovers. And Becker had the Cards on the run for most of the game.]

[But even as a freshman guard wunderkind, Ms. Bengston found it’s no fun being defensively engulfed by the likes of Emma and Cathryn . . . ]

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[A back pic sent Cathryn crashing to the floor.  Hoots arose from the crowd . . . well, at least from me.  It likely was a legal, if somewhat jarring, screen . . . ]

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[Emma smoothly closed out the big comeback with a couple of freebies . . . ]

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[Only 5 games left in the regular season. This team is finding ways to pull out wins in close games.  Let’s see if they can keep it going . . . ]

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The trouble with officials is they just don’t care who wins.  ~  Tommy Canterbury

A little family shout out here. Lest you didn’t know, the Korean Olympic Village was designed by Cuningham Group Architecture, in which our sister-in-law Karen is a partner. You’re likely aware that Cuningham Group is probably more famous as the designer of Alexandria Area High School!

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About tomobert63

The Journey Begins Thanks for joining me! This is the follow-up to the original, “alexandriacardinals.wordpress.com,” which overwhelmed the system’s ability to handle it any more. Thus, this is “Part 2.” As the original was initially described: 10-26-07-4 “It all began in a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno, California” . . . wait a minute, that was Ted Baxter on the Mary Tyler Moore Show! Let’s see . . . oh yeah, it all began in 2003 when retirees, i.e., old people, in Alexandria, Minnesota, who had no desire to become snow birds, went looking for mid-winter entertainment here in the frozen tundra of West Central Minnesota. We discovered girls’ high school hockey, fell in love immediately, and it remains our favorite spectator sport to this day. Initially, and for several years, reports on these games were e-mailed to those who were actually snowbirds but wanted to keep abreast of things “back home.” It was ultimately decided a blog would be more efficient, and it evolved into a personal diary of many things that attracts tens of readers on occasion. It remains a source of personal mental therapy and has yet to elicit any lawsuits. ~ The Editor, May 9, 2014 p.s. The photo border around the blog is the Cardinal girls’ hockey team after just beating Breck for the state championship in 2008. It’s of the all-tournament team. The visible Breck player on the left is Milica McMillen, then an 8th-grader – she is now an All-American for the Gophers. The Roseau player in the stocking cap I believe is Mary Loken, who went on to play for UND; and the Cardinal player on the right, No. 3, is Abby Williams, the player we blame most for making us girls’ hockey fans who went on to play for Bemidji State. *********************************************************************************** Photos contained herein are available for personal use. All you have to do is double click on any of the photos and they will become full screen size. You can then save them into your personal “My Pictures” file. They make lovely parting or hostess gifts, or holiday gifts for such as Uncle Ernie who wants to see how his grand niece is doing on the hockey team. If any are sold for personal profit, however, to, for example, the Audubon Society, National Geographic, Sven’s Home Workshop Monthly, Curling By The Numbers, or the World Wrestling Federation, I only request that you make a donation to the charitable organization of your choice. You have two hours and fifteen minutes. Pencils ready? Begin! **********************************************************************************
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