Coach Jimmy Westland knew what he and his Caledonia girls varsity basketball team was getting into when they hosted Lewiston-Altura Friday night.
The Cardinals, with just a 3-16 record, have struggled all season and Westland, who has watched his team battle illnesses and a four game losing streak, wanted to make sure the Warriors were ready to play. “I told the girls that we need to be ready no matter who we are playing.” And ready they were. The Warriors turned in a dominating performance, led by a suffocating pressure defense and held the Cardinals scoreless for nearly 15 full minutes as they dismantled Lewiston 73-17 to improve to 15-6 overall and 10-5 in conference play.
It wasn’t pretty. Totally out-gunned in every facet of the game, the Cardinals were simply no match for Caledonia. In their first meeting Dec. 17 Caledonia won by 39 points, but Friday night the Warriors led by as many as 53 points midway through the second half.
“I told the girls that in games like this, I was proud of the way they maintained. You can kind of let things slide in these situations, but I thought that we all played with good intensity the entire game, despite the score,” Westland said.
It took the Warriors a whole three seconds to score the first points of the game as Maria Fruechte tapped the opening tip-off to Taylor Winjum who raced in for a layup before most folks in the crowd had settled into their seats.
In the next two minutes Caledonia scored 12 points to take a 14-4 lead, and 10 minutes later, with exactly four minutes left in the first half, they had extended the lead to 40-8 on a basket by Fruechte and took a 46-8 lead into the locker room at halftime.
In the first 16 minutes three different Warrior players – Fruechte, Winjum and Maddy Mullins – each matched or outscored the entire L-A team. Fruechte scored 8, Mullins 10 and Winjum scored 15 points in 16 minutes of play. With 12 minutes left in the first half the Cardinals had closed the gap to 20-8 but for the next 13 and a half minutes they failed to score until Kaitlynn Dailey was fouled and the senior made two free throws at the 16:39 mark to make the score 50-10.
Caledonia kept rolling and took a 59-10 lead on a basket by Jordyn Krause, who added a pair of free throws to make the score 63-10. With 3:33 to play Lydia DeMorett sank two free throws to push Caledonia’s lead to 56 points at 71-15. The Cardinals’ only field goal of the second half came with 7:09 to play when Chaniah Rinn scored, the first basket by L-A since the 12 minute mark of the first half.
Taylor Winjum finished with 21 points to lead all scorers and Mullins added 12 and Fruechte 10. Caledonia traveled to Wabasha-Kellogg Tuesday and will host Dover-Eyota Thursday night.
L-A 8 9 — 17
Caledonia 46 27 — 73
LEWISTON-ALTURA (3-17, 0-15): Mueller 2, Dailey 4, Beyer 2, Krieger 5, Brown 2, Ran 2.
CALEDONIA (15-6, 10-5): DeMorett 2, Fruechte 10, Mullins 12, Rusert 9, Russert 8, Bichel 2, Krause 5, Winjum 21, Denstad 4.