Cromwell-Wright slips by Carlton 65-59The Cardinals came back for a 65-59 win over Polar League nemesis Carlton Monday evening at Carlton High School.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
CARLTON – Before entering the girls basketball game for Cromwell-Wright, Ann Collman got off the bench, sprinted to the scorer’s table and quickly signaled to officials that she was about to take to the court.
Once in, the spark plug didn’t slow down.
Keyed by Collman’s energy, hustle and an off-the-bench scoring outburst, the junior reserve helped lead the Cardinals to a 65-59 win over Polar League nemesis Carlton Monday evening at Carlton High School.
Afterward, Collman said her 14 points were a season-best for her this winter. She was unaware if it was a career-high – that didn’t matter.
“I wouldn’t care if I scored zero points, as long as our team had more points on the scoreboard than our opponent afterward,” said the 5-foot-7 forward who has been playing basketball since around third grade. “When I do something, I always try to do my best. … I go all-out. So when I go into games, I just get excited and try to bring us energy.”
With the Cardinals’ top-scorer MaKayleigh Cahoon fighting foul trouble early, Collman checked in, scored a bucket and nailed two free throws in a matter of seconds. As Cahoon continued her foul-filled night in the second half, Collman logged more minutes –diving after loose balls, fighting for rebounds – and tallied 10 more points.
“She hustles for everything,” said Cahoon. “She’s a very versatile player that brings this crazy, positive energy to our team.”
Second-year Cromwell-Wright Coach Terry Sawdey noted that Collman averages around five points per game. Sawdey was the first to say his post player was vital in Monday’s victory, as she has gracefully accepted her reserve role on the team.
“She stepped up for us,” Sawdey said of Collman, a second-year varsity player. “We knew tonight was going to be a challenge, but that’s where Ann came in.”
Cromwell-Wright (11-11) scored 10 of the game’s first 12 points en route to a 29-21 halftime lead. In the second half of the physical affair, the Bulldogs cut the Cardinals’ advantage to half a dozen on numerous occasions, but never any closer.
“Carlton is always tough to play, especially with their crowd, as it’s definitely a six-person team in here,” Sawdey said. “We were able to come out quick and get up early. We never put it away, but it was a complete team win for us tonight.”
Although it was a sloppy game at times on both sides, Carlton (7-13) continued its year-long struggles with turnovers, foul trouble and frustrations Monday night.
Starting post players Lindsey-Dahl Holm and Clarissa Nelson both fouled out, as the Bulldogs had 21 fouls and a pile of giveaways in their fifth straight loss this winter.
“We work on it every day in practice, but foul trouble and turnovers have hurt us,” third-year Carlton Coach Lisa Johnson said. “But it goes on and on.
“We made some turnovers that we shouldn’t have made tonight and just have to take better care of the ball,” Johnson continued. “And when it gets physical out there, we have to control ourselves. We can’t panic, because we can’t afford to be in foul trouble.”
Dahl-Holm said controlling their cool has been difficult this year.
“That’s one of our troubles, we need to learn how to hold our frustrations down,” said the Carlton senior center who scored a game-high 20 points before heading to the bench for good with less than three minutes to play. “We’ve had our ups and downs, but we just have to put all of the pieces together.”
Following Dahl-Holm was junior Brooke Camps with 16 points, while Nelson, also a junior, collected 10 before fouling out with 11-plus minutes remaining.
“I’m staying confident with our team, because I know what we’re
capable of; if we put together a full game and keep pour frustrations down, I think we can go far,” Dahl-Holm said. “Us and Cromwell have been real close over the years. To come out ahead would have been nice, but I guess you win some, you lose some.”
Entering Monday as losers of seven of their last 10 games, the Cardinals topped the Bulldogs for a second time this season. Cahoon said that position was, again, a pleasant one.
“Working on a new defense, our press and some new plays lately things have been a little difficult and stressful at times,” said the 5-foot-10 center, who scored a team-leading 18 points for Cromwell-Wright Monday. “But I think we played well tonight. I think we’re starting to get out of our lull here. It was a nice feeling to get a W.”
Seven Cardinals scored in the six-point win.
“Every win is big for us because we want every game so bad,” added
Collman. “We’re a very close team and I think we’re starting to pick it up. If someone comes out for us, we have players who can go right in there and contribute.
“We haven’t made it too far into the playoffs in the past,” Collman continued, “but I think if we all hustle, play hard and do our best, we could get a couple W’s here and there.”
That confidence is keeping their coach optimistic, as well.
“We’re starting to click at the right time of year,” Sawdey said. “We have two games left until playoffs, so hopefully this win can light a spark for us.”
Just like Collman did.