Prep girls basketball: Cromwell-Wright continues late-season surge with sixth-straight win

The Cardinals overwhelmed Carlton in a 60-18 victory on their home court.

Prep girls basketball
Cromwell-Wright sophomore Siiena Anderson drives to the basket while being guarded by Megan Matarelli of Carlton during a game Thursday, Feb. 16 at Cromwell-Wright High School.
Jake Przytarski / Cloquet Pine Journal

CROMWELL — Another stingy effort on the defensive end of the floor yielded Cromwell-Wright its sixth consecutive win, Thursday, Feb. 16, a resounding 60-18 triumph over Carlton on their home court.

The victory was the Cardinals' 10th in 11 games, which includes a double-overtime thriller over Polar League Conference rival Barnum this past week.

Over that span the Cardinals’ team defense has held opponents to under 50 points eight times in what coach Jeff Gronner describes as the biggest catalyst for the team’s success.

“Overall, our defense has been very good lately, and that’s been propelling us to all these wins,” he said. “I like how we get after it on that end of the court.”

Boasting a deep bench with numerous highly-capable defenders, the team’s ability to keep its players fresh with a platoon system has paid dividends.


“Having a lot of people helps being able to rotate everyone in and stuff and being able to run the floor — that’s been really important for us,” senior Sascha Korpela said.

The Polar League Conference Small Division champions are in the driver’s seat for the No. 2 overall seed in the Section 7A tournament with the defending section champions of Mountain Iron-Buhl all but locked into the top overall seed.

Prep girls basketball
Cromwell-Wright junior Jill Anderson looks to make a pass while being guarded by Megan Matarelli of Carlton on Thursday, Feb. 16 at Cromwell-Wright High School.
Jake Przytarski / Cloquet Pine Journal

Gronner is hopeful that his team can find another gear heading into the postseason with another matchup with the Rangers possibly in the works.

“I need to see more consistency. We are not playing as consistently as I’d like, and to be able to compete with MIB, we gotta play a lot better,” he said.

The Cardinals took a positive step towards reaching that goal with a dominant second-half effort after struggling to create separation on the scoreboard in the first 18 minutes of the game due to turnovers.

The visitors managed to cut the deficit to five midway through the half after a hard drive to the basket by Carlton’s leading scorer Megan Matarelli made it a 13-8 ballgame.

Prep girls basketball
Carlton's Maddie Asleson dribbles up the court during a game against Cromwell-Wright, Thursday, Feb. 16 at Cromwell-Wright High School.
Jake Przytarski / Cloquet Pine Journal

Sophomore Siiena Anderson, who finished with a game-high 16 points, helped her club get back on track down the stretch as the team closed out the final eight minutes on 11-3 run in a 26-11 halftime score.

After a back-and-forth start in the early goings of the final frame, Cromwell-Wright put its proverbial foot on the gas pedal with a 22-0 scoring run to the final buzzer to cap off their sixth-straight win.


The Cardinals will take on Mountain Iron-Buhl in a rematch of last year’s Section 7A final, Monday, Feb. 20, at 7:15 p.m. Carlton will host Hill City/Northland in its next game on Monday at 7:15 p.m.

Carlton 11-7--18

Cromwell-Wright 26-34--60

Carlton -- Maddie Asleson 3, Eliza Decaigny 6, Megan Matarelli 7, Michaela Sundeen 2. Totals 8 5-12 18.

3-point goals -- Matarelli 1

Cromwell-Wright -- Bryanna Foster 2, Siiena Anderson 16, Marissa Dahl 2, Emaleigh Olesiak 3, Sascha Korpela 7, Mya Gronner 8, Vaida Blomquist 2, Josie Suhonen 2, Isabella Anderson 12, Jill Anderson 6. Totals 24 8-14 60.

3-point goals -- S. Anderson 1, Olesiak 1, Gronner 2.

Jake Przytarski is a reporter for the Cloquet Pine Journal covering a mix of news and sports.
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