Make-or-break time for Ranger girls (VIDEO)

Click here to watch highlights from Friday’s win.

Basketball team rides SEC win streak into key stretch

Forest Lake throttled Hastings in a SEC game last Friday. Above: Senior Sam Anderson defends a Raider layup attempt. (Photo by Clint Riese)

Clint Riese
Sports Editor

A 2-0 week pushed the Ranger girls’ Suburban East Conference winning streak to four and put the basketball team in fifth place in the league standings. The Rangers are now 5-4 in the SEC and 10-7 overall.

Forest Lake beat Stillwater and Hastings in a pair of home games. The hosts took control of both games in the second half.

The Ponies took a three-point lead into the break on Tuesday, but the Rangers erupted for 45 points in the final 18 minutes and won 67-57. Sophomore Bailey Norby made 13 free throws in the second half alone on her way to 30 points, a career high.

“She had a great night with 30 points, but she was also able to [lead] in other ways,” said coach Jen Wagner.

Emily Peters also found her way to the foul line and finished with 10 points. The Rangers went 27-36 from the charity stripe.

Forest Lake led wire-to-wire in a 64-30 rout on Friday. The outcome dropped Hastings to 2-14 overall.

Five Rangers scored as they jumped out to a 16-3 advantage. The Raiders stayed within 13 at halftime, but KP Palo had five points during a 10-0 run early in the second half as the Rangers pulled away.

Norby finished with a team-high 15 points. Rachel Bostrom hit three three-pointers and scored 11 points. Wagner said the senior guard is back to form after a hand injury sidelined her for the first month of the season.

Despite the outcome, 24 turnovers and poor shot selection drew the ire of Wagner. The team hit eight three-pointers, but attempted 27. Wagner said the team needs to work on patience on the offensive end because it is likely to see more zone defenses down the stretch and into the playoffs.

“I’m definitely pleased with the way the game went on Friday, but there are just things we could do to a team like Hastings that if we do against another team, we might have a hard time,” she said. “It’s a matter of making sure we’re doing the little things we need to do to improve.”

The Rangers get their second crack at all four teams ahead of them in the SEC standings over their next five games.

“Now’s the time for these kids to really challenge themselves and see what kind of progress they’ve made from the start of the year,” Wagner said. “…It’s a way for the kids now to gauge where we’re at and what do we need to do to be where we want to be.”

The key stretch began with a road trip to Mounds View (13-3) this Tuesday. Forest Lake hosts White Bear Lake (11-6) on Friday and plays at No. 9 Roseville (14-2) next Tuesday.