Cardinal girls’ hoops pull out four-point road win at Andover

by Samantha Lefebvre
Sports Writer

Editor’s note: Samantha Lefebvre is a new part-time sports reporter for ABC Newspapers. She recently graduated from the University of Minnesota-Duluth with a degree in communications and experience leading the campus newspaper as editor. She graduated from Buffalo High School in 2008 and will help us increase our game coverage and offer more depth to the section. If you see her around the rink, court or pool feel free to welcome her to the area.

Despite a 14-point deficit after the first half, the Coon Rapids girls’ basketball team was able to come out on top against Northwest Suburban Conference and district rival Andover Jan. 6.

The Cardinals (7-6) came back on the court with more fire and determination for the second half and controlled the ball to pull off a 69-65 victory over the Huskies (9-8).

Coon Rapids' Callie Kowalenko, left, goes to the floor while protecting the basketball. Photo by Samantha Lefebvre

“They brought more energy the second half and we just thought we had it with the 14-point lead at half time and that is the story,” Andover head coach Ray Brodeur said. “They are a strong power team that won’t quit and we let them play hard.”
Coon Rapids was able to close the score gap and tie up the game with 8:30 left on the clock in the second half.

A major factor of the Cardinals’ return from the deficit was the numerous fouls called against Andover. Coon Rapids capitalized on the calls and made 21-of-44 free throws. Although the Huskies made a much larger percentage of its free throw attempts, 78 percent, they only scored 14 points on those efforts.

Senior Brianna Havelka was the top scorer for the Cardinals, putting up 16 points and recovering nine total rebounds. Also contributing to the victory was senior captain Libby Storrick, who made five-of-seven shots from the field for 13 points.

Although it lost by two baskets, Andover put up a fight until the very end and was able to put up outstanding numbers both as a team and as individuals. Junior McKenzie Becker and her younger sister Haydn Becker were the top scorers for the Huskies, each contributing 18 points. Combined the Becker sisters scored nearly half of the team’s points and tallied six assists.

Coon Rapids coach Toni Jesinoski said the win for her team was a great way to get back at the Huskies for what they did to them last year in the section tournament.

“In my eyes I always expect a win,” Jesinoski said. “We battled last year and took two games in the season with them and then they knocked us out of the section tournament so it’s kind of revenge game so to speak.”

The two teams will meet again later during the season, this time in Coon Rapids Feb. 10.