Cardinals topple Tigers 57-34 in girls basketball

The Northwestern girls basketball team fell to the Park Falls Cardinals Tuesday night 57-34 after a disappointing first-half performance from the Tigers.

The Northwestern girls basketball team fell to the Park Falls Cardinals Tuesday night 57-34 after a disappointing first-half performance from the Tigers.

"We just came out flat, offensively and defensively," Shawn Leith, head coach of the Tigers, said. "They (Park Falls) got every loose rebound, they ran us up and down the floor.

"Every game can be a learning experience and this one was. You have to be ready to come out and play every game, mentally as well as physically. Some nights the ball just isn't going to go in the basket, and those are the nights where you've really got to step up your defense. We were getting beat up and down the floor, and those things should never happen. You should never have an off night as far as hustle goes."

A lack of transition defense devastated the Tigers in the first half, as the Cardinals repeatedly passed the ball down court for uncontested layups.

In the opening four minutes of the game, the Cardinals scored eight points while the Tigers scored none. Northwestern did not get on the board until the 2:48 mark, when Lindsey Schiff was found open underneath for the easy bucket.


The Tigers also struggled to break Park Fall's press early in the game and committed a number of turn overs due to bad passes. Park Falls took advantage of Northwestern's struggles and racked up 14 points in the first quarter. The Tigers, meanwhile, managed only five points, three of which came from free throws.

The second quarter was even worse for Northwestern, as the team added rebounding trouble to its already long list of woes. Park Falls got baskets from seven different players in the second quarter for a total of 26 points. The Tigers had three players with a basket each for six points in the quarter, giving the Cardinals a 40-11 advantage at the half.

"At halftime and I told the girls we've got to play for a lot of pride right now because we've always been real competitive throughout the years in all of our games," Leith said. "Our goal was to try to win each quarter after (halftime)."

And the Tigers met their goal in the second half.

The Northwestern team that took the floor after halftime hardly resembled the lackluster group that had played in the first half. The Tigers harassed their opponents on defense, forcing turnovers and limiting the Cardinals to just eight points in the third quarter. On the offensive end the Tigers still had some difficulties, but they attacked the basket nonetheless and managed to outscore Park Falls 9-8 in the third quarter.

Going into the fourth quarter the Tigers trailed 48-20, but the large deficit didn't seem to discourage the players. In fact, Northwestern scored more points in the final quarter than in the first two quarters combined.

Gretchen Grube kicked off the scoring in the fourth quarter with an inside shot off the glass at 7:21 to make it 48-22. The two teams then traded baskets for the next few possessions before the Cardinals pulled away to build a 57-26 lead with 2:42 remaining on the clock.

Even though the Tigers trailed by a large margin, the team did not lose its spirit or determination as the game wound down. In fact, just the opposite seemed to happen.


Northwestern closed out the game in the same manner Park Falls had opened it: with a 8-0 run. The Tigers' late rally lessened the gap between the two teams, but the Cardinals still won 57-34.

"The girls really responded well as far as maintaining that hustle," Leith said. "We definitely did a lot better things in the second half than we did in the first half. That was a good thing to see."

Park Falls had the only player to score in double figures as Cassy Schemberger tallied 17 points, 10 coming in the second quarter. Lindsey Schiff led the Tigers in scoring with nine points. Eight other Northwestern players also added points for the team.

"We've been in every game we've played so far this year; this one we really got out of it early and had a hard time scrapping back," Leith said. "Hopefully this is another step in the right direction as far as learning experiences, because as we get closer toward the end of the season, each game has to be a learning experience where we learn from our mistakes and learn that we have to come out against any team and just be ready to play."

The Tigers' next game is at home Thursday against Barron. The game will start at 7:30 p.m.

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