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Grizzlies notch first win over Cook County second loss

David Colburn
Posted 12/7/22

FIELD TWP- The North Woods girls basketball team steamrolled their way to their first victory of the season at home last week against Cook County, but then took one on the chin in a Tuesday loss at …

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Grizzlies notch first win over Cook County second loss

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FIELD TWP- The North Woods girls basketball team steamrolled their way to their first victory of the season at home last week against Cook County, but then took one on the chin in a Tuesday loss at Bigfork.
Smarting from their season-opening loss against Chisholm, the Cook County game on Thursday, Dec. 1 was just what the doctor ordered to get the Grizzlies’ machine rolling. After Helen Koch hit a long two-pointer to start the game, center Hannah Kinsey outraced everyone for a fast break bucket and River Cheney drained a two to stake North Woods to a 6-0 lead, and they never trailed.
With the lead at 21-16, the Grizzlies stomped on the accelerator. Cheney, Kinsey, Brynn Chosa, Kiana LaRoque, and Addison Burckhardt all scored in a 15-0 blitz to balloon the margin to 20, 36-16, holding the Vikings scoreless for over four minutes. North Woods led 38-22 at the half.
The Grizzlies got on the board quickly in the second half when Cheney scored on a putback on their first possession, and thus began what would be a nightmarish 18 minutes for the Vikings.
A Cook County fast break score at 17:05 was the start of an abysmal scoring collapse as the Vikings hit only two more shots the rest of the game. The Grizzlies’ defense was a major cause of that collapse, contesting nearly every Vikings shot and crashing the defensive boards hard to limit Cook County to single shots on most trips down the floor.
Cheney and Kinsey were the big contributors to the North Woods offense in the second half as the Grizzlies steadily pulled away for a dominant 72-28 win.
Grizzlies Head Coach Liz Cheney was pleased to see her team play at an elevated level the entire game.
“Something we’ve struggled with in the past has been either falling down to a lower level than what we’re capable of or just kind of slumping off a little bit,” Cheney said.
Ball control was also a strong point for the Grizzlies, Cheney said.
Four Grizzlies scored in double figures, led by Kinsey with 19. LaRoque dropped in 13, Cheney scored 12, and Chosa had 11.
Bigfork
The Grizzlies were without the services of Kinsey when they traveled to Bigfork on Monday, but North Woods still appeared to match up well against the host Huskies.
But matchups don’t handle the ball or score points, and after a quick 4-0 start on baskets by Talise Goodsky and LaRoque, the Grizzles were suddenly in short supply of both. The Huskies reeled off ten consecutive points before Chosa broke the string with a basket, and the next trip down the court she connected on a trey to pull North Woods within three at 12-9.
That’s as close as North Woods would ever get, as Bigfork responded with a 9-0 run to go up 21-9. The Grizzlies managed to keep pace from there and went into the half down by 12, 32-20.
North Woods quickly cut that lead in half with more aggressive offense that generated two scores from Cheney and another by LaRoque. But the Grizzlies couldn’t sustain the promising start, and the Huskies used a devastating 21-4 run to go up 55-32. North Woods had no answers as Bigfork coasted from there to a 26-point win, 69-43.
“I was expecting a closer game,” Coach Cheney said. “We just could not pick up momentum in that first half. We said at halftime that we need to take control of the game right away. We came out in the second half with some adjustments, and it was working for us. We only had 11 turnovers all game, which was huge coming off 33 turnovers against Chisholm, so that’s a success we’re going to pull out of that game.”
“I keep reminding myself that was just the third game of the season and we’ve got a long way to go,” Cheney continued.
River Cheney topped North Woods scorers with 11 and Koch added nine.

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