Cloquet lights up Duluth Marshall for second straight victory
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
CLOQUET — To put last Friday night’s Lake Superior Conference girls basketball game into perspective – Duluth Marshall had more fouls in the first half than points.
That combination quickly resulted in the Lumberjacks thumping the Hilltoppers 59-31 at Cloquet High School.
“The girls came out ready to go tonight,” said Cloquet head coach Jeff Ojanen afterward. “They really played with a lot of energy out there.”
The ‘Jacks scored the first 17 points of the contest and tripled Duluth Marshall’s score by halftime.
“We’re really playing with a lot of confidence right now,” added Ojanen. “These girls are young, but they’re constantly working hard and picking each other up.”
The ‘Jacks tallied a handful of players in double figures Friday, as junior Annabel Morrisroe tallied 18 points, while senior captains Katie Pappas and Brianna Henagin racked up 14 and 11, respectively.
“We started really good tonight, I didn’t even know we were up by so much,” laughed Pappas. “We usually don’t have the greatest of starts to games, so coming out quick tonight was kind of nice for once.”
That blazing start started with Pappas who added 10 rebounds and missed just a pair of her nine shots.
“I took a lot more jump shots than usual,” Pappas said about her double-double performance. “I was open on the weak side a lot tonight, so that’s where I hit my shots. Tonight was a fun game.”
Though fun, Pappas knows her ‘Jacks still have some work to do after Friday.
“We’re still a little rough,” she said. “We’re going to have to step it up against some of the tougher teams. We’re coming around but we still have a little talking to do.”
Her coach agreed.
“We played a decent game tonight, but it’s not as well as we need to be playing to beat some of good teams around here,” said Ojanen. “We’ve done a good job of pushing the ball here in January, but we have to start to be more patient on offense and make the best of our opportunities.”
Starting winless in their first four contests, Cloquet (8-10) is clawing their way back to into standings, having most recently won five of their last seven games.
“Our seniors have really carried us here these last two months, especially on the defensive side of the ball,” added Ojanen. “And that’s what we’ll have to continue to do if we want to go anywhere. Our girls know that and they’re working hard at it.”
Cloquet gets back into section action Friday, Feb. 12 when they welcome rival Grand Rapids, as well as non-conference foe Moose Lake-Willow River on Saturday, Feb. 13. Both game times are slated for 7:30 p.m.
“The girls are excited about the opportunity to prove themselves Friday against a good team like Rapids,” said Ojanen. “They’ll be ready to go.”
The Thunderhawks have ended Cloquet’s season the past two seasons in the playoffs.
“I think we have a chance,” added Pappas with a smile. “We want this one.”