The Cambridge-Isanti girls opened the basketball season with a strong second half to defeat tall Chisago Lakes Dec. 1 at home. Senior Whitney Olson scored 30 points and dished 5 assists to lead the Bluejackets to victory.
The C-I girls led throughout the first half, including creating a 39-28 edge after Olson drilled a three-pointer and followed with a drive in the paint. But the Wildcats, paced by their star Whitney Tinjum, fought back over the final three minute, forging a 39-39 tie at the break on Zoe Hansen’s shot at the buzzer.
“I thought we played very well in stretches against Chisago Lakes. We had a nice start to the game to build the early lead, but didn’t manage the lead real well and went in tied at half,” said C-I Coach Jody Ledahl. “I thought we played a lot more patient on offense and got higher percentage shots and got to the free throw line because of it. We were able to get our press set off the free throws which allowed us to take control of the game.”
Lily Porta’s three-point play broke a 49-49 tie in the second half, and the Bluejackets began to pull away. Olson added one last field goal to keep C-I ahead 64-61, then she and Natalie Larson combined to go 6-for-6 at the line to hold off the ‘Cats.
Brynn Liljander finished with 21 points for the Jackets, and Larson had 13; those two also dished 3 assists apiece.
Wayzata 83, C-I 44
Playing in Saturday’s Breakdown Tip-Off Classic at Hopkins, the Bluejackets ran into 6th-ranked Wayzata who handed C-I its first defeat of the season. The Trojans, led by Marissa Grossfield’s 26 points, began the game with a 14-3 lead. The Jackets fought back to get within 20-13, but Wayzata bolted on a 12-0 run en route to a 46-18 lead at the break.
“Wayzata was tall, strong and athletic, and we struggled with that mightily. We started very cold from the floor in the first half, and they just gradually built a large lead because of that. We played much better in the second half. We attacked their zone better and started knocking shots down which allowed us to get our defense set,” noted Coach Ledahl.
Olson knocked down 3 three-pointers and finished with 17 points for the Jackets. Larson scored 8, Liljander 7 and Emily Holboy 6.
C-I Girls 53, Spring Lake Park 50
The Bluejackets earned another non-conference win in the early going by working past the host Panthers Dec. 6. Whitney Olson scored 23 and Natalie Larson 17 to lead the Jackets once again this season. Amanda Hanson added 10 points in support.
Larson and Paige Muehlhauser both led the Jackets with 6 rebounds, with Hanson working for 4 boards.