Defense sparks late rally, win over Cretin

Girls move to 11-10 after 50-48 thriller

The Ranger girls’ basketball team has emerged from the hardest part of its schedule and is looking to pad its record heading into the postseason. With five games left, Forest Lake is 11-10 and has already won four more games than it did all of last winter.

The team climbed back over .500 with a come-from-behind home win over Cretin-Derham Hall last Friday. The Raiders – just 4-9 in the Suburban East Conference – ended the first half on a run which put them ahead 27-25.

They grew their lead to nine points will less than seven minutes remaining, led by hot shooting from Jordan Alt and a zone that limited the Ranger offense.

Forest Lake charged back and took the lead with three minutes to go, getting turnovers off a full-court press and inside scoring from Bailey Norby. Cretin-Derham Hall tied the score at 48 with a tough bank shot with under 15 seconds left.

On the ensuing inbounds, Emily Peters broke free deep and was fouled. After making the first free throw, the sophomore missed the second, but the Raider rebounder stepped out of bounds. Micah McGuiness then split a pair of free throws to make it 50-48 in the closing seconds.

With only a handful of team fouls committed, the Rangers were able to play physically and keep the Raiders from getting the ball upcourt or getting a shot off at the buzzer.

The late comeback was a product of intensity on the defensive end, coach Jen Wagner felt.

“The kids found some energy and they really created their offense by playing solid defense,” she said. “Our full-court press led to some easy layups and free throws. In the last four minutes we played the starters and they really finished the game for us.”

Alt scored a game-high 19 points, while Norby led the Rangers with 15. Sam Anderson added 12 and Anna Eckert nine for the hosts.

The win broke a three-game losing streak and came on the heels of a players-only meeting.

“They made sure they understood what goals they had for the season,” Wagner said of the meeting, noting that the team had one of its best practices of the year the following day. “…I just think it’s a great group of kids.”

The victory also came on Pink Night. The program raised over $800 to fight breast cancer through Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Raiders 54, Rangers 39

Roseville continued a surprisingly good season with a 54-39 win over Forest Lake last Tuesday.

Junior Jacqlyn Poss got off to a hot start, scoring 20 of 27 points in the first half as the hosts pulled out to a 33-16 lead.

“I was not overly disappointed with our defensive performance or some of the things we were doing; I was overly impressed with her,” said Wagner.

Forest Lake got nine points from Norby and six apiece from Anderson, Eckert and KP Palo.

Roseville is in a four-way tie atop the SEC with Mounds View, White Bear Lake and Park. Each team is 11-2 in league play. Roseville went 13-5 and took third in the SEC last season, but most felt they would take a step back because they have no seniors on the roster and lost all-state forward Megan Stuart to graduation.

Forest Lake is now 6-7 in the SEC. They play at Park on Friday, but finish with four games against teams in the bottom half of the league standings. That portion of the schedule kicks off next Tuesday with a home game against East Ridge.