FL edged by Park on Pink Night

After cruising to a 74-61 victory over Mounds View last Tuesday, the Forest Lake girls basketball team hit a speed bump against a strong Park team on Friday during Forest Lake’s annual Pink Night.

The Wolfpack set the tone early with a 13-5 lead out of the gates. Park led 26-15 at the half.

Forest Lake stuck with their visitors in the second half but couldn’t overcome the early deficit and lost 55-42.

Senior Miranda Rice pulls up for a jumper in the lane during the first half against Park.

Senior Miranda Rice pulls up for a jumper in the lane during the first half against Park.

Head coach Jen Wagner said her squad didn’t seem as prepared as normal and the cancellation of school that day could have been factor.

“I do think the players and the coaching staff were a little disappointed on Friday night — we had a couple miscues that Park was able to take advantage of,” Wagner said. “We weren’t able to prepare as well for a team like Park, but no excuses. I’m still proud of how they continued to battle.”

Sophomore Hanna Vidlund led the Rangers on offense with 14 points, followed by senior Anna Eckert with eight points. Senior Bailey Norby recorded seven points, while senior Miranda Rice put up six. Junior Abby Moeller added four.

Wagner was pleased with how fans and the opposing team responded to the program’s Pink Night fundraiser. The Rangers and Wolfpack joined forces to raise $900 for the Randy Shaver Cancer Fund. Due to inclement weather, the Forest Lake pep band was unable to attend, but Wagner said donations can still be made by contacting assistant coach Maurya Laqua at mlaqua@flaschools.org.

On the Mustangs’ home court three nights earlier, the Rangers sang a different tune against a 9-15 Mounds View team, which Forest Lake beat by 20 points earlier this season.

Forest Lake led 32-25 at halftime and hung on for a comfortable victory against an improved opponent, according to Wagner.

“I think the kids responded well to what Mounds View was doing nicely — they played aggressively and had definitely improved since the last time we played,” Wagner said. “I thought we could have done some things differently, but I’m still pleased with our effort and ability to go into a tough atmosphere at an away game and come away with a victory.”

Norby led the charge with 26 points, followed by Rice with 17. Vidlund earned 13 points, while Eckert posted nine. Senior Emily Peters scored six points.

Forest Lake faced White Bear Lake at home on Tuesday for Senior Night. The Bears are 22-2 overall and one game ahead of Forest Lake in the race for the Suburban East Conference title. But Wagner said her squad has an even bigger goal in mind.

“The bigger picture is winning the section and playing our best basketball in March,” she said. “A conference title would be icing on the cake, but the ultimate goal is winning sections.”

The Rangers are 18-6 overall, 13-3 in the conference and 3-2 against Section 7AAAA opponents including Anoka, which is 17-7 overall and 5-1 against section opponents.

The Rangers play their final regular-season game Friday at Cretin-Derham Hall.

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