It was a busy week for the Ranger girls’ basketball team. After a 54-48 loss to No. 4 Roseville at home last Tuesday, Forest Lake grabbed wins at Cretin-Derham Hall and Duluth East.
The Rangers led at the break 38-24 over the 20-1 Raiders last Tuesday, but couldn’t hold on as they were outscored by 10 in the second half. Head coach Jen Wagner said the girls played tough considering the Rangers are still becoming accustomed to a lineup change following junior Emily Peters’ season-ending knee injury. Sophomores Hanna Vidlund and Sarah Jaeb are both seeing an increase in responsibility with Vidlund taking over at starting point guard and Jaeb filling the shooting guard spot.
“The other veteran players have been helping them ease into their positions,” Wagner said. “The kids played well, especially with the challenge of a new lineup. Unfortunately, we just didn’t get the win.”
The Rangers handled Cretin-Derham Hall easily enough last Friday, defeating the host team 67-47.
Senior KP Palo and junior Anna Eckert led the offense with 11 points each, followed by Vidlund and junior Bailey Norby with nine. Senior Andie Wohlk contributed eight after coming back from a concussion sustained mid-season.
Wagner chalked up the win to a full team effort.
“Hanna played extremely well on Friday night and is becoming a little more comfortable in her new role,” the head coach said. “KP has played really well these last three-to-four games with good defense, solid rebounds and finishing around the rim. And Bailey is such a staple and always a constant force for us.”
Bad weather kept the Rangers from returning home until late Friday night, then the girls turned around again in the morning for the two-day trip to Duluth East.
The Rangers beat the section opponent 45-37, despite shooting just 29 percent, a substantial drop from their 42-percent average.
Despite the Greyhounds’ attempt to contain the Rangers with a 1-3-1 matchup zone, Norby earned a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Vidlund recorded nine points, followed by Palo with six and senior Angie Frericks with five.
“We didn’t play bad, we just didn’t have our normal feel for the game,” Wagner said. “There wasn’t a lot of finesse or a lot of outside shooting, but we opened up the second half with some good transition plays. I’m pretty proud of the girls for grinding out that win.”
Forest Lake has just five regular-season games to go, including Woodbury (9-4 in conference play) and Park (10-3), both of which have yet to face conference-undefeated Roseville (20-1 overall).
Wagner’s squad sits fifth in the Suburban East Conference with a record of 8-5 (16-5 overall).
The Rangers host Park at 7:15 p.m. on Friday. The night game is also Forest Lake’s sixth annual Pink Night, and fans are asked to wear pink in honor of cancer survivors and offer donations to the Randy Shaver Cancer Fund.