Cheney Free Press -

By Lee Hughes
Staff reporter 

ML girls close season with fifth place

Cards go 2 for 2 at state playoffs

 

The Medical Lake girls arrived home after four days of state playoff games at the Hardwood Classic at the Yakima SunDome, bringing with them a fifth place title for the second year in a row after going 2 for 2 in the state 1A championships.

King’s Knights

The Card girls started out strong with a decisive 49-36 victory on Wednesday, Feb. 27 over No. 8 King’s Knights (19-7), coming out strong in the first quarter. Led by Jaycee Oliver, the Cards outscored the Knights by nine points, a lead that in the end ensured the win.

The Knights answered with a stronger offensive effort in the second and third periods, coming back to tie the game early in the third period. Oliver kept them at bay with a 3-pointer, but the Knights kept at the net, taking a 3-point lead mid-quarter. A Lexie Redell 3-pointer and a field goal by Allison Duncan brought the Cards back into the black by the end of the third.

The teams exchanged the lead again early in the fourth period. But with the score tied at 36-36, Medical Lake defended their net while pouring on the offense with a series of 3-pointers by a Lohman, Redell and Jaxyn Farmen. Free throws by Emma Munson secured the win to advance the Cards to quarterfinal play.

The Cards were also aggressive in bringing the ball in, hauling down 40 rebounds to the Knights 34.

“Our girls played very well in this game and shot the ball extremely well,” head coach Kyle Lundberg said. “ We were able to play some great defense and really shut down their top scorer and held her to six points. “

Oliver led the Cards with nine points, including three field goals. Munson add a 3-pointer, going 1 for 2 at the free throw line, with Lohman adding two of her own field goals.

Meridian Trojans

The Cards took on the Meridian Trojans (20-6) the following afternoon in a game that almost mirrored the precious days play in a 41-33 win.

Again, the girls came out strong offensively, led by Lohman field goals and gaining a comfortable 9-point advantage going into the second quarter. And again, the early lead gave them an advantage they would maintain for the remainder of the game.

The Trojans kept pace with Medical Lake in the second period, but only managed to subtract from their first quarter deficit by a single point, closing the first half 22-14 Cards.

Medical Lake managed a strong defense, especially in the third period, holding the Trojans to only four points, while adding eight points to their own score. Meridian did their best to come back in the fourth, outscoring the Cards by four points, but it was too little too late, and the Cards notched another win to again advance to the 1A semi-finals.

Lundberg was effusive about the Card’s defense. Even though Meridian had 13 more rebounds than Medical Lake, the Cards kept their shooters at bay.

“Our defense once again showed up and held Meridian to 23 percent shooting,” Lundberg said. “We got out rebounded but Meridian is a great rebounding team and we tried to keep them off the boards. We also hit eight 3s which really helped our offense get going.”

Lohman and Redell led the Cards with nine points each, followed closely by Oliver with eight.

Lyndon Christian

It was déjà vu all over again when, despite Lohman’s 15 game points, it wasn’t enough to overcome the Lyncs 58-34 victory in the Card’s first playoff defeat on Friday evening and their second loss to the team two years running.

“LC is a great defensive team and we knew we would have to shoot their lights out and hold them to a low shooting percentage,” Lundberg said, describing the Card game plan.

Both teams came out shooting in the first period in back and forth scoring with Lohman nearly single-handedly keeping the Cards with the Lyncs. The score was tied three times until the Lyncs pushed ahead to gain a 4-point advantage going into the second.

Again, it was all Lohman offensively early in the second until Oliver was fouled and nailed both free throws, followed by a Farmen field goal to wrap the first half 28-18 Lyndon.

But like a tsunami, Lyndon just kept on coming, outscoring Medical Lake in the second half 30-16.

Overall, the Lyncs outscored the Cards inside 18 to 10, making nearly half of their attempts to Medical Lake’s 30 percent. Lynden Christian was also strong under the net, grabbing 14 more rebounds than the Cards. The Lyncs also drew five more fouls than the Cards, allowing them to shoot 50 percent from the free throw line, outscoring the Cards 28-15 in field goals and free throws alone.

So in the end the game plan didn’t pan out as the Cards had planned.

“Unfortunately we just didn’t get that done, as LC shot the ball great and we struggled against their size and length,” Lundberg said. “Overall our girls fought hard and I’m proud of their effort during this game.”

The Card girls advanced to a consolation bracket to play their early season nemesis, Cashmere.

NEA MVP Lohman led Medical Lake scorning with 15.

Cashmere

In their final game of the season Saturday, the Cards faced the Cashmere Bulldogs (12-0, 22-3 overall) in a 55-33 loss that was a near repeat of their Jan. 5 defeat at Cashmere early in the regular season during non-league play.

“Our focus was trying to slow down (Hailey) Van Lith, which we did a better job this game than the last time we played them, only giving up 24,” Lundberg said.

But he noted their other players made up for it, shooting well and making nearly 45 percent of their shots to Medical Lake’s 1 in 4.

The Bulldogs dominated the hardwood. Their defense kept the Cards off the boards for most of the game, while the Card defense was unable to minimize the Bulldog offense.

Medical Lake started out strong early, outscoring the Bulldogs 9-3. But the Bulldogs came back before the end of the first period to take and maintain the lead through the remainder of the game, holding Medical Lake to only two points in the second period while they continued to rack-up points for a 27-14 lead to end the first half.

“We started to struggle on the offensive side, especially in the second quarter.” Lundberg said. “We got good looks but just couldn’t get the shots to fall.”

Lohman came out after the half to lay in a quick 2-pointer, but that was it until Redell added her own field goal and a pair of free throws.

The Cards continued to fight on in the fourth on field goals from Oliver and Acord, and with plenty of help from Redell, but in the end closed out the game short.

The Bulldogs were a nightmare under the net both offensively and defensively, outscoring the Cards 19 to 6 in field goals. Another key stat was free throws — the Bulldogs nailed a whopping 61.5 percent to the Cards 40.

Redell was the Card leading scorer with 17, including going 4 for 6 with three 3-pointers. Oliver had six, and Acord four. Normally high-scoring NEA MVP Lohman was held to 2 points.

Lundberg had nothing but praise for his team, noting that the Cards had lost two first-team all-league players last year.

“This team wasn’t picked to win our league,” he said. “They not only did that, but also brought back that fifth-place trophy.”

Redell was selected for second team all-tournament.

The Cardinal girls closed the season with a 21-9 overall record, including 5-3 in post-season play, landing a playoff slot for the third year in a row, and earning fifth overall in state 1A for the second consecutive season under Lundberg’s leadership.

“We are going to miss our two seniors, Jessica Lohman and Jaxyn Farmen,” Lundberg said in looking ahead to next season. “They both were such a key part of our program success.”

Seven varsity Card girls will be returning next year, including Redell.

“We are excited to see what these girls will accomplish next year, but for now it’s time to get some much needed rest,” Lundberg said.

He noted that the team will be back in the gym and playing to hone their championship skills for next season.

“I’m a very blessed coach to have such wonderful girls and parents in our program.” Lundberg said.

Lee Hughes can be reached at lee@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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