By Charlie Warner
Argus News Editor
The Caledonia girls basketball team suffered their first defeat of the season when they were handed a 54-50 loss from neighboring Spring Grove on Dec. 27. The Warriors bounced back two evenings later, when they defeated La Crescent 64-52 in the second game of the four-team holiday classic.
Spring Grove 54, Warriors 50
The Spring Grove Lions featured a tenacious defense and hot shooting to down the previously undefeated Warriors in Spring Grove.
The Lions, ranked fourth in the state for Class A teams, jumped out to an early lead that ballooned to 11 points, 21-10 with seven minutes remaining in the first half and led 30-23 at the mid-game break.
The Warriors made a run to start the second half and tied the game up at 37-all at the 11 minute mark. But Spring Grove scored six unanswered points to take a 43-37 lead with 3:50 remaining in the game.
Caledonia made another run and tied the game up at 43-43 three minutes later. The game was deadlocked again at 46-all with 1:50 left on the clock. But that’s as close as the Warriors got, as they were out-scored 8-4 in the final minute of the game.
“We started slow, we missed a couple shots early and four free throws. Against a quality team like Spring Grove you have to come to play as soon as the ball is tossed up,” coach Scott Sorenson said.
“It was not one of our better shooting nights as the shots were just not falling. Our girls took quality shots, but at times they just don’t fall.
I was happy with our ability to stay after it as the girls never gave up. We battled back to tie the game and had possession of the ball to take the lead, but failed to get a good look and then had a break down on the defensive end to allow one of their best shooters an open look, which she hit.
“This was a tough loss for us as we lost Maria Fruechte to a broken arm, which happened in the first half and she continued to play through the pain,” Sorenson reported. “We also lost Marie Doering to a broken hand, which she also played through. Those are two tough kids to be able to do that. We would prefer our kids to inform us of problems like that, but again it takes a lot of toughness to keep going.
“Looking forward, this is probably a good loss for us as it will hopefully refocus us like it did last year,” Sorenson added.
Both Fruechte and Doering are expected to be out of action for four to six weeks.
The Warriors were led by Taylor Winjum with 19 points, three steals, two rebounds and two assists. Fruechte had 18 points and registered another double-double with 17 rebounds, five steals and three assists.
Lauren Rusert had eight points, three rebounds, two steals and one assist; Maddy Mullins had two points, eight rebounds, two steals and one assist; Shannon Doering had two points and two rebounds and Carli Dahlberg had one point, four steals and one assist.
The Warriors turned the ball over 19 times. They hit 17 of 73 shots from the field (23 percent), made 11 of 21 free throws (52 percent) and 5 of 21 treys (24 percent).
Warriors 64, La Crescent 52
The Warriors picked up their 10th win of the season when they handed the Lancers a 64-52 loss at Spring Grove last Thursday night.
The Warriors took the lead early and never looked back as they led by 12 points and 35-23 at the half. The two teams played even in the second half, with both squads scoring 29 points for the 64-52 final score.
“There are several times throughout the course of the season in which a coach is extremely proud of his team and this would be one of those times,” Sorenson stated.
“Losing two vital players two days before their next game makes it tough to get their minds set to compete at the level we expect them to be at,” Sorenson continued. “But our girls did it. As a whole, the team stepped up and took care of what they wanted to. After the game we talked about how strong these injuries are going to make us when we are back at full strength.
“Hannah Russert came in off the bench and played what I felt was her best game by far. She really played with the sense of urgency we have been looking for from her. Maddy Mullins stepped up her game and added much needed offensive and defensive effort. Lauren Rusert played an outstanding first half, which really jump started us offensively as she scored all of her 13 points in that half. Shannon Doering got it done on the boards and did a great job of talking and setting solid screens for her team mates. Carli Dahlberg struggled early but settled down and took control when we needed someone calm on the press break. Lottie came off the bench and did a lot of the little things. She is a little banged up right now, but played with a lot of heart. Her shot was off tonight, but we need her to keep shooting as she is an outstanding three-point threat. Taylor did a great job of attacking the defense when they took her shot away. Overall it was a team effort and that is what it will have to be each night.
Winjum once again led the Warriors in scoring with 20 points. Mullins added 18, Rusert had 13, Dahlberg had 6, and Lottie Augedahl, Hannah Russert and Shannon Doering each had two points.
The Warriors will host Dover-Eyota on Jan. 3 and travel to Southland Jan. 5
You can contact Charlie Warner at email@example.com