By Brady Ambrose
The experience may not be there – yet, but the effort certainly is as the Caledonia girls played three games in a row at CHS to start the season.
Coach Kevin Klug and his young squad, with little varsity experience back from a year ago, dropped games to Rushford-Peterson, Kingsland and Pine Island to start the season 0-3.
On Dec. 3 the Warriors opened up against R-P and lost 64-58 to the Trojans. It was a nip-and-tuck game for the first half, where R-P took a 34-32 lead into the locker room at the break. The Warriors then took the lead at 40-38 with 13:46 to play on a basket by Tracy Felten, but R-P regained the lead at 44-42 on a jumper by Kendra Crawford. The Trojans then went up 49-44 when Hope Morrison hit a 3-pointer, stole the inbounds pass and scored again. R-P then extended the lead to 51-44 to cap a 13-4 run.
Caledonia cut the lead to 59-52 on a three-point play from Brenna Werner with 2:08 left, but the Warriors would get no closer and the Trojans held on for the 64-58 win.
Freshman Mariah Schroeder led Caledonia with 15 points in the loss. “We shot an outstanding 48 percent from the field but had 24 turnovers. We also shot 7/13 from the 3 point line,” Klug said.
On Thursday night Caledonia hosted Kingsland and came within 2.3 seconds of getting their first win of the season, but Kingsland freshman Gracie Schmidt scored her only points of the game with time running out to hand the Warriors a heart-breaking 61-60 loss.
Caledonia took the lead at 60-59 with just nine seconds left in the game on a basket by Felten that capped a furious comeback by the Warriors, who trailed 34-21 at the break, but Schmidt hit a short jumper from the right side on the ensuing play after she broke free from the Caledonia defense. “I love the girls’ effort and hustle,” Klug said. “We forced 34 turnovers in the game – It’s just gonna take a little time for the girls to get familiar playing together.”
Jordyn Krause led Caledonia with 15 points, including three, three-pointers with Werner adding 12.
On Saturday Caledonia hosted the team that eliminated them from the Class 1AA girl’s section championship game a year ago when Pine Island beat the Warriors 58-45. Schroeder again led the Warriors, this time with a game-high 17 points.
“We played well against a good team, but we just have to put an entire 36 minutes together,” Klug said. “The hustle was there again – we just didn’t shoot well enough to win. If we continue to play this hard the wins will come. Brenna Werner is doing a good job pushing the ball up the floor. Mariah is doing well attacking the rim. Lydia DeMorett, Alexis King, Tracy Felten and Hannah Cuda are all playing good defense and are shooting a high percentage when they get their looks. Jordyn Krause is our shooter – we have to keep getting her open looks. Sam Schroeder is our leading rebounder and has been holding her own down low against girls much taller than her.”
After playing at Southland Tuesday, the Warriors will host Lewiston-Altura Thursday night.