Rangers come up short in two tough SEC tests
Taking on two teams with a combined record of 19-3 in the Suburban East Conference, the Ranger girls’ basketball team was unable to spring an upset last week. Forest Lake, now 10-9 overall and 5-6 in the SEC, fell in Mounds View on Tuesday and at home against White Bear Lake on Friday.
The Rangers put a better showing forth in the second game, which the Bears won 52-47. Led by 29 points from all-state guard Alexis Foley, the visitors controlled the lead throughout. Forest Lake hung around, however, and had several chances to take control as White Bear Lake went cold in the second half.
“It’s unfortunate to lose a game like that but I was very, very pleased with our effort,” said coach Jen Wagner. “I thought we actually played outstanding.”
Foley had 14 of her team’s first 20 points, and she got plenty of help from hot-shooting teammates in the first 18 minutes. White Bear Lake led 34-24 going into the break.
Forest Lake mixed defenses throughout the night and succeeded in slowing the Bears down to the tune of 18 second-half points.
Down 45-30, the Rangers went on a 9-2 run to cut the lead to eight. With White Bear Lack stuck at 47, the Rangers missed a pair of free throws and came up empty on several possessions. Foley secured the win with a steal and layup to put her team up 10 with three minutes remaining.
Wagner came away impressed with her team’s defensive focus, noting that the Bears averaged 70 points over their previous five games.
“You have to be pleased when you have opportunities,” she said. “You can still be disappointed with the fact that some of those opportunities weren’t capitalized on, but if we play the remainder of our season with that effort and that focus, we’re going to win. I’m happy with that.”
Bailey Norby and Emily Peters scored 13 points apiece and Sam Anderson added 10. Forest Lake made only one three-pointer to White Bear Lake’s seven.
Mounds View took control early and was never challenged in a 58-38 win last Tuesday. The Rangers found severe foul trouble early and never got into an offensive rhythm.
“We weren’t able to get looks we were looking for and then the kids shut down,” Wagner said. “It was a learning experience. It was disappointing to lose like that, but [Mounds View] played well.”
The Mustangs, who held a 39-13 advantage in free throw attempts, were led by 21 points from Katie McDaniels. With 10 points, Norby was the lone Ranger to reach double-digits.
Forest Lake traveled to Roseville (15-3, 9-2 in SEC) this Tuesday and hosts Cretin-Derham Hall (7-12, 3-8) on Friday.