by Samantha Lefebvre
Low scoring first-halves have pollute Anoka girls basketball (6-10) this season, but the curse was broken when they took on Maple Grove (6-10) at home on Jan. 24.
The Tornadoes racked up 28 points in the first half, 13 of which came from sophomore Claire Lundberg. Anoka capitalized on their strong first half thus leading them to a 55-49 victory over the Crimson.
The first few minutes of the game were off to slow start for the Tornadoes, but as soon as Lundberg got rolling so did the rest of the team. Lundberg had back to back steals, which resulted in four points off of two layups in the middle of the first half. In the last 3:30 in the first half, junior Hailee Gifford sunk a three pointer and gave the Tornadoes a two-point lead. One minute later Lundberg reciprocated Gifford’s contribution and sunk a three pointer of her own.
The Tornadoes had a nine-point run in the last three minutes and finished the half on an 11-2 run. A buzzer beater from Lundberg gave the Tornadoes a seven point lead at halftime, 28-21.
“She is one of those that can get going,” Anoka coach James Fassett said of Lundberg. “She can get going from inside or outside. She is a virsitle scorer and she has kind of stepped it up and increased as the season has gone on.”
Early in the second half the Crimson caught up with the Tornadoes evening out the scoreboard 33-33 at the 12 minute mark. From that point on it was a back and forth ball game. With three minutes left in the game the Tornadoes and the Crimson were tied up 46-46. But once again Lundberg stepped in with the game changer and made two consecutive baskets, guiding them to a six point win over the Crimson, 55-49.
“I think our team played the way we had to play,” Fassett said. “When it got physical, we played physical. When we needed to slow down and pull it out we pulled it out. We kind of did the things we had to do to win. We were probably not as sharp as we could be, but you know Maple Grove is a good team and they defend well and pressure the ball so sometimes you just have to hold on.”
Lundberg led the Tornadoes with 23 points followed by fellow sophomore teammate Amber Bray who put up 12 points. Gifford, Samantha Brannen, Ashley Bray, and Kyrah Fredenburg each added five points to the Tornadoes home victory.
Leading the Crimson with 15 points was junior point guard Angie Davison. Senior Kaia Schmidt followed closely with 13 points.
Anoka last meet conference rival Maple Grove at this season’s opener back in early December, when the Crimson defeated them 38-50.
Although their season may have started out slow, the Tornadoes are getting back on course and have gone 6-2 since Dec. 27. Last year the Tornadoes had a record of 2-24, but were able to win the next four games of the post season and take home the teams first Section 7AAAA championship and make it to the first round of the state tournament.
“Anything can happen I guess when we get to sections time, so we just have to keep rolling,” said Fassett.