Big win over Bears

The Forest Lake girls basketball team scored a big win on the road at White Bear Lake last Tuesday by handing the Bears their first loss of the season.

The Rangers beat the No. 6 (Class AAAA) host team 53-46 to edge their way into the state rankings at No. 10.

Head coach Jen Wagner said her squad was prepared and focused heading into the matchup.

“They knew a lot was on the line,” Wagner said. “The kids executed the game plan, were focused, intense and transferred the things we talked about at practice to the court — they were just on point and knew what they needed to do.”

Forest Lake jumped to an early lead and maintained it through the first half, leading 26-21 at the break.

Wagner said she was pleased with her team’s ability to utilize their help-side defense, never giving up an easy layup.

“It was close the entire game,” she said. “Anytime they made a run, we stopped them right away. That was another big step in maturing our game, and it wasn’t always just one kid stepping up; everyone contributed.”

The Rangers kept the Bears on their heels in the second half as well to pull out the win.

Senior Anna Eckert led the charge with 18 points, followed by senior Miranda Rice with nine. Senior Bailey Norby and junior Hanna Vidlund each contributed seven points, while junior Abby Moeller and senior Emily Peters added five apiece.

Three days later the Rangers hosted Cretin-Derham Hall, who sits in the middle of the Suburban East Conference, and won handily, 57-42.

The matchup came after yet another canceled school day and no practice for Forest Lake on Thursday. But the break didn’t seem to bother the Rangers.

Eckert led in scoring again, this time tallying 20 points. Peters recorded 11 points, while Vidlund put up 10. Rice and Norby both added eight.

“That was another big victory for the kids,” Wagner said. “They were pretty spent after White Bear Lake, just physically and mentally drained, so Wednesday we went easy on them and Thursday was a snow day. I was pleased with what they were able to do, given the break.”

The Rangers are 12-4 overall and 8-1 in the SEC.

Forest Lake played a rescheduled game against Hastings on Wednesday night and next travel to East Ridge on Friday, Jan. 31, for a 7:15 p.m. game. The Raptors are 10-3 overall and 5-3 in conference play.