by Samantha Lefebvre
Coon Rapids is now 4-6 at home after a seven-point loss to Anoka on Feb. 8.
The Tornadoes (8-12), who lost to the Cardinals (9-11) earlier this season in an even closer 2-point game, also broke their two game losing streak with the 57-50 win over the Cardinals.
“I think one of the biggest issues we had last night was not playing as one,” Coon Rapids coach Toni Jesinoski said. “We didn’t seem to have the ability to gel as a team and no matter what line up we had on the floor, we were flat.”
An early 12-4 lead gave the Tornadoes a quick advantage, but it was short lived when the Cardinals responded with an 8-point run to force a tie at 12-12 early in the game. From that point on the game was neck and neck until the Tornadoes started to pull away with about 6:00 left on the clock.
“We moved the ball well and were patient on offense,” Anoka coach James Fassett. “We took good shots. Didn’t force many. The key for us was getting stops and turning them into scores.”
Sophomore Claire Lundberg kept the score close in the first half and led the Tornadoes with 11 points. Ashley Bray went for 6-6 at the free throw line and contributed eight points to the Tornadoes victory. Fassett said that although it did not show in the stats, Kyrah Fredenberg had a great game defensively.
“She was key in helping to handle the ball for us and getting those stops we needed,” Fassett said.
Despite its devastating loss, three Cardinals players were able to put up double digit points. Junior Sara Brnic led the Cardinals with 13 points. Junior Courtney Pasiowitz put up a double double effort with 12 points and 14 rebounds.
“She works hard, is scrappy and picked up a lot of huge rebounds for us that helped us stay close to Anoka,” Jesinoski said.
The Tornadoes out shot the Cardinals in the two-point range by 23 percent. Anoka had a shooting percentage of 56 percent while the Cardinals fell flat shooting only 33 percent.
“I just don’t think we played with the heart and determination that this team is capable of playing with,” Jesinoski said. “This was a big game for us and we didn’t rise to the occasion as I know we could have.”
After losing to Anoka (5-14) earlier in the season by 15-points, Coon Rapids (5-14) took it to the Tornadoes Feb. 8 with a 97-85 success.
But it wasn’t revenge that was on the Cardinals minds.
“I would think that it is a fact that our kids are tired of losing and decided this would be the night where they put it all together,” Coon Rapids coach Ryan Green said. “We really limited our mental mistakes, we rebounded hard and played a very physical game.”
The Cardinals led the half by three points, but the Tornadoes put up a fight to tie the game at 41 early in the second half. Anoka continued to cut down Coon Rapids leads, but in the end it was not enough and the Cardinals pulled ahead for the 12-point victory.
“It was a very physical game,” Anoka coach Paul Broberg said. “Both teams gave up a lot of points.”
Anoka’s Marcus Tyus had a game high 25 points.
Deaunte Hammer led the Cardinals with 22 points, followed closely by teammate EdDarie Hibbler with 21 points.
“EdDarie (Hibbler) did a great job of controlling the speed of the game and finding the open guy,” Green said. “Deaunte (Hammer) has been working very hard in practice and in games the past couple of weeks and it is starting to pay off for him. He hit a couple of jumpers, but he also was the recipient of some assists from others as well as he has created for himself by his offensive rebounding.”