Rangers take care of business
Girls climb back to .500 in SEC with pair of home wins
With a win in one of its final two regular-season games, the Ranger girls’ basketball team will clinch its first winning season in three years.
Forest Lake improved to 13-11 with a pair of Suburban East Conference wins last week. The Rangers also reached .500 in the SEC standings for the first time after starting 0-3.
The homestanding squad beat East Ridge last Tuesday and Woodbury on Friday. Both victories completed season sweeps.
East Ridge successfully controlled the tempo by employing a half-court zone all game, but Forest Lake was patient on offense and led throughout.
“We had good ball reversals and forced East Ridge to play defense for more than two seconds,” said coach Jen Wagner, who noticed significant improvement in her team’s handling of zones since the beginning of the season.
The Rangers led by six at the break and never let the Raptors close the gap in the second half, winning 54-42. Sophomores Bailey Norby and Anna Eckert paced the offense with 14 and 12 points, respectively.
Friday’s 69-61 win over Woodbury came in a very different style. Both teams scored 41 points in an up-and-down second half.
KP Palo had seven early points as Forest Lake jumped out to a 14-4 lead. The Royals closed the gap to 20-18, but Forest Lake closed the half on a 7-2 run. Sophomore Emily Peters hit a jumper, then senior Micah McGuiness made a three-pointer. After a Woodbury score, Peters stole the ball and drove for a layup to make it 28-20.
The Royals made several runs in the second half, but Eckert took over as Forest Lake never let the lead slip below four. Eckert had 17 of her team-high 19 points after the break.
“It was impressive seeing the kids be able to answer when Woodbury continued to make those runs,” Wagner said.
Norby scored 17 points and Peters added 14.
The Rangers close the regular season with a pair of road games this week. They went to Stillwater on Tuesday and play Hastings on Friday. The Section 7AAAA playoffs begin next Thursday.