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Cardinals rout Bulldogs 77-34

Carlton's Brynne Mickle drives past Cromwell's Amanda Hakamaki. Dave Harwig/Pine Journal1 / 2
Cromwell's Teana Hakamaki makes a layup in front of Carlton's Millie Groth on Thursday, Feb. 1. Dave Harwig/Pine Journal2 / 2

The Carlton Bulldogs found out the same thing concerning Cromwell-Wright's girls basketball team that the rest of the Northland has learned the hard way when the teams met Thursday, Feb. 1.

"They are always tough," Carlton coach Andy Weber said of the Cardinals (13-6), who won the game 77-34. "They work so hard and they pass up good shots for better shots, and even when they're tough shots they hit them."

The Cardinals raced off to a 44-12 halftime advantage and got 32 points from Shaily Hakamaki in the win. Teana Hakamaki added 24 and the Cardinals hit seven three-point shots in the win.

"It was a solid win for us," Cardinals head coach Jeff Gronner said. "I thought we came out in that game real aggressive on offense and we took it to them early on defense. We moved the ball well and defensively we controlled the boards. We usually have success when we do that."

Brynne Mickle and Abby Mickle scored eight points each for the Bulldogs (9-11), who are in a search for identity with the regular season winding down.

"It was a tough game for us," Weber said.

After a loss to Esko, the Bulldogs rebounded to rout North Woods 79-48 on Monday, Feb. 5, in one of the team's most complete games of the season.

Millie Groth had 24 points, including three three-pointers, while Jess Anderson added 16, Alena Wallin 15 and Alaina Bennett 14. Carlton led 40-21 at half.

"We came out as a team and played really well," Weber said, "We didn't try to do anything special. Sometimes, you just really work well together as a team. We played good defense and had multiple scorers, which hasn't always been the case with us."

The game against Carlton was Cromwell's only game of the week, giving Gronner and his team a chance to rest, recuperate and get ready for the stretch run.

"We've won three in a row after Carlton, but we went through a stretch that was tough and even in games we won, we didn't play well," Gronner said. "We are still in the process of finding ourselves.

"I still see lots of good play, but a lot of things we can still improve," he said. "Consistency is the thing as we move to the last three weeks of the season."

Cromwell finishes with four of its final five regular season games at home. McGregor on Thursday, Feb. 15, is the only remaining road game, with home contests coming up against Floodwood, Cook County, Cloquet and Bigfork.

"We've got five pretty good opponents to close it out," Gronner said. "It'd be easy to see the glass as half-empty because we've lost six games and had injuries, but you can't dwell on that. We're winning games and I still see ways we can get better. It's a good thing we haven't peaked.

"Our goal is to get to the (section) semifinals and there we'd probably meet Mountain Iron-Buhl or Bigfork and be an underdog," Gronner said. "Hopefully, we'll be at our best."