Liljander scores 33 in C-I opener; Braham girls handle East
Senior point guard Brynn Liljander dropped the hammer on the new season of Cambridge-Isanti girls basketball as she blistered visiting Princeton for 33 points in a 58-42 opening victory at home Nov. 27.
Liljander scored 20 points in the first half which began like a typical first game of the season. Both teams made mistakes as the game was locked at 6-6 in the early going. Liljander and Justine Larson then knocked down back-to-back three-pointers, then Paige Muehlhauser found Amanda Hanson and Lily Porta with sweet pass plays as C-I began creating breathing room.
After Princeton pulled to within 20-15, the Bluejackets bolted on a 16-2 run, fueled by a strong defensive effort. Liljander began the run with a drive and another ‘3.’ Maria Vavra got inside for her first bucket, followed by two more Liljander drives for scores. Vavra popped a shot from the arc, then Larson and Liljander added solo free throws to finish the run as C-I took a 37-19 lead into the break.
Liljander opened the second half with another ‘3,’ and the Jacket press forced a 10-second turnover on the Tigers. Liljander later swished a runner, found Hanson for an assist, then she drove hard for another bucket which kept C-I’s edge at 52-34.
The Jackets’ aggression on defense did result in a quick collection of fouls which got Princeton into the bonus by the 10:50 mark of the second half. The Tigers’ last burst had them within 52-42 with 2:19 to play, but free throws from Porta and Liljander sealed the victory; Liljander ended shooting 10-of-13 at the line. Hanson finished with 8 points for C-I, and Vavra was next with her 5 points.
Braham 65, Duluth East 43
The Bomber girls were also victorious in their Nov. 27 opener, handling the Greyhounds in a home victory. Becca Dahlman began her senior campaign with 35 points against East.
Jaclyn Hollenkamp scored 12 points in her first varsity start for Braham, with Dani Braund adding 7 points, Kayla Nickles 6 and Jenna Winter 3. Sophomore 6’1” center Hannah Johnson led East with 12 points.
Dahlman scored 21 points in the first half as Braham led 36-20 at the break. She finished with 7 three-pointers, 12 rebounds, 5 steals and 4 assists. Braund had 9 rebounds and 4 assists, Hollenkamp had 4 rebounds, and Nickles led with 5 assists.
“East packed in their 1-3-1 zone, and Becca found the openings to get her shots. While we didn’t shoot well overall from outside or rebound well on the offensive end, we got after the Greyhounds defensively, forcing 31 turnovers altogether,” analyzed Bomber head coach Tim Malone. His team shot 13-of-16 at the line against the ‘Hounds who are the defending Section 7AAAA champions.
• After the Nov. 29 Great River opener at Rush City, the Bombers will take on Park Center in this Saturday’s Breakdown Tip-off Classic at Hopkins in the 11 a.m. feature.