Both winless going in - Ogichidaa tip Wrens in girls basketballThe Ogichidaa posted their inaugural win this winter with a 39-31 knocking of winless Wrenshall at Fond du Lac Ojibwe School.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Ken Fox was all smiles last Thursday night as his Fond du Lac Ojibwe girls basketball team celebrated their ecstatic victory.
It wasn’t just any victory, it was their first.
Using an array of long-range bombs and an upbeat attack, the Ogichidaa posted their inaugural win this winter with a 39-31 knocking of winless Wrenshall at Fond du Lac Ojibwe School.
“It was such a good feeling afterwards to see the girls so excited,” said Fox. “The boys came running over; they got Gatorade showers and the whole works. Tonight was just a great night not just for the girls, but for the whole school, and that’s nice to see.”
FDL came out of the gates swiftly as eighth-grader Amber Fox nailed a handful of three-pointers, allowing the Ogichidaa to tally the first nine points of the contest. Their quick start guided them to a 14-9 lead by halftime.
“Amber came out strokin’ the threes,” said Fox. “She really got us going fast out there. It was just what we needed.”
After recess, FDL continued to dominate, darting to a 20-5 run to increase their lead substantially. The Wrens closed the game on a late run, but it was far too late.
The celebration soon followed.
“It was just a great game all around,” said Fox. “Both teams have gotten beat by a lot and have had a lot of lopsided losses this year. It was finally nice to see both clubs go up-and-down the floor battling each other and having fun.”
Michelle Blanchard agreed.
“We knew it was going to be good game,” said the Wrenshall head coach. “We were hoping that we could get the win, but we knew Fond du Lac wanted it too. And they just beat us tonight. They deserve every bit of that win they got.”
Fox poured in 18 points, including a contest-leading four three-pointers. Senior Krysta Reynolds also added 12 in the victory.
“It’s taken us a while, but we finally got one,” laughed Fox. “I’m happy we got the win, but I’m most happy for our girls. They come to practice every day and scramble around giving it their all. Now, their hard work has finally paid off.”
With All-Conference, top-scoring sophomore Maria Burcar sidelined due to a broken wrist, Wrenshall had to look to other players to score. Sophomore Natalie Peaney paced the Wrens Thursday with 12 points.
“We’ve had some key injuries and by our scores, it doesn’t look like we’ve improved, but we really have,” said Blanchard. “We just don’t have the experience and confidence yet, but we’ll get there. It’s not easy losing all of your games, but these girls have stayed so positive all year long.”
Both clubs saw their year come to a close Tuesday night in the opening round of the Section 7A playoffs. FDL finished 1-18 after losing 62-32 at Silver Bay. Fox led the Ogichidaa with 14 points, followed by Kasey Shabaiash with 7 and Reynolds with 6. Danesha Johnson and Francine Ladeaux rounded out the scoring with 3 and 2 points, respectively, against the Mariners.
Wrenshall closed the season at 0-25, falling 53-21 at Lakeview Christian Academy. Natalie Peaney scored 20 of Wrenshall’s 21 points, nailing 6 three-pointers, with Christina Laveau adding the final point in the loss.
“This is a really fun group of girls that has actually made the season go by quickly,” smiled Blanchard. “We don’t look at our record, because we’re setting higher expectations next year. We’ve done a lot of growing this season and have a lot to build on. Next season, we’ll be starting fresh.”
“Win or lose, this year has been fun,” said Fox. “The girls are upbeat and positive and are really dedicated to the program we are trying to build up here. They’re all friends both on and off the court and have really grown together well. They’ve shown a lot of improvement and it’ll definitely pay off down the road.”