Cheney Free Press -

By PAUL DELANEY
Staff Reporter 

Cardinal girls collect three more wins, close in on title

 

February 1, 2018



Medical Lake’s girls’ basketball team is nearing their initial goal of repeating as regular-season champions after a 3-0 week that included a pair of Northeast A League victories.

The Cardinals stayed perfect at 12-0 in the NEA, 17-0 overall and ranked as the state’s No. 7 team in the 1A RPI rankings after topping Newport 61-23 on Jan. 23 and Freeman on the road 42-30 last Friday. They concluded the week with a 59-44 win over the No. 14 2B team Liberty in a nonleague game last Saturday at Spangle.

“Our first goal was to win our league and if things go right and we beat Lakeside on Tuesday we would have accomplished that,” head coach Kyle Lundberg wrote in an email.

Medical Lake got a balanced game last Tuesday with solid efforts both offensively and defensively. They limited Newport (5-7 NEA, 9-9 overall) to single-digit scoring in all four quarters.

“Our girls played really good defense, and did a good job putting a lot of ball pressure on them,” Lundberg said.

Meanwhile, Lexie Redell with 16 points and Jaxyn Farmen’s 14 led the offense. “We shot the ball really well, very balanced scoring, which was great to see,” Lundberg said.

At Freeman (7-5, 9-8), defense was the name of the game for three of the four quarters as the Cardinals’ leading scorers in the game, Jayda Noble and Jessie Lohman, had just eight points apiece.

Medical Lake led just 7-5 after the first quarter. “Freeman did a really good job on defense, preventing us from getting to the paint,” Lundberg explained. “We also didn’t shoot very well from the 3-point line, only 19 percent.”

The second quarter produced offenses on each side that woke out of that early slumber. Medical Lake outscored Freeman 20-12 to lead 27-17 at halftime.

“In the second quarter we switched up our defense and went to a zone press,” Lundberg said. “We were able to create some turnovers, which led to some easy baskets.”

The fourth quarter was another low-scoring affair where it was not defense as much as clock management that ultimately delivered the victory.

The Cards wrapped up the week with an important tune-up against the 2B Lancers (11-6) which had a strange up and down pace. After racing to a 23-17 lead in the first quarter, Medical Lake was held to a season-low three points going into halftime and led just 26-25.

“It was a very good matchup for us,” Lundberg said. “In the first quarter, neither team played very well on defense; the shots were flying up and in on both ends of the court.”

In the second, an 8-3 edge for Liberty, “We got after it on defense, but had trouble finishing on the offensive end,” Lundberg said.

Medical Lake got a game-high 20 points from Lohman who is still rounding into shape after spending the entire preseason on the bench nursing an injury.

“That was Jessie’s first start of the year,” Lundberg explained. “While she isn’t 100 percent yet, she is getting into shape, which has helped her shooting. I’m very happy with her performance on Saturday,” he added.

Medical Lake closes out the regular season this week at home. They met Lakeside (11-1, 14-4) on Jan. 29 and host Colville (4-8, 7-11) tonight (Feb. 1) at 7:30 p.m. on Senior Night.

Regardless of outcome in their final league contests, Medical Lake will enter the playoffs either the NEA’s No. 1 or 2 seed, playing Friday, Feb. 9 at 7:30 p.m. at West Valley High in Spokane.

“Right now we are still taking one game at a time,” Lundberg said. ”But overall, I’m happy with the way our girls are playing and I’m excited for the postseason.”

Paul Delaney can be reached at pdelaney@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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