Cardinals Sweep The Eagles 59-48


Deanna Belcher-Zalaznik

Heather Ranta, a senior, goes to shoot free-throws in game @ Solon Springs.

Morgan Rock, Director of Internal Communications

The Indianhead Conference this year has been a bit of shock compared to previous years. On average, there are one to two teams who dominate the conference. This season, in both the girls and boys’ conferences, the wins and losses are reasonably spread out between each of the teams. For the girls’ conference, the top two teams are neck and neck, and well above the rest of the teams. In 1st place is Bayfield with an 8-0 record. Closely following the Trollers are the Washburn Castleguards with a record of 9-1. However, from there on, each team is one win or loss from changing their ranking. Currently, Ironwood sits at 3rd place with 4 wins and 2 losses, South Shore is 4th, eeking out just one more win than their number of defeats with a record of 6-5, Solon Springs in 5th with equal numbers of wins and losses.  Their record comes up double nickels, 5-5.  Hurley is in 6th, taking more hits on the scoreboard than wins, 4-5, but tied for a number of wins with Butternut, who are in 7th, as they’ve racked up more losses than the Midgets with a record of 4-6.  Mellen is in 8th, with a record of 3-7, Drummond is 9th with 2-6, and Mercer rounds out the top 10 in 10th with just one win on the books, 1-9. The Cardinals have some big games left in the season that could completely determine their fate in the conference and their seeding for Regionals.

The Cardinals had one of those “fate-deciding” games last night, Jan. 25th. The team traveled to Solon Springs for an earlier game at 6:00 p.m. as Solon was not playing a junior varsity team. This was the second time the Cardinals faced the Eagles. The first game against the Eagles was at home earlier in the season, on Dec. 15th. The Cardinals handily beat the Eagles 64-50, with Chloe Sipsas scoring 13 points and Signe Branham, Myla Lahti, and Rylee Nicoletti all scoring 10 points. Now the Cardinals knew they had to take care of business and defeat the Eagles for the second time. Heading into the game, the Eagles had one more win over the Cardinals, ranking fourth in the conference. This game would determine if the Eagles would retain their fourth place spot on the charts or if they would fall.  And so began the battle for fourth.

The Cardinals actually started out the game on a rough note. They seemed a bit out of it at first, turning the ball over quite often and missing shots. About halfway through the first half, the Cardinals were struggling, down by 11 points. Although it took the Cardinals a while to get into a groove, they went for a run towards the end of the half, closing their point deficit to only 5 points. The Cardinals knew they played a bad first half on the court and had to pick up the intensity to win the game. With this mindset, the Cardinals crushed their point deficit within three minutes, gaining a slim lead of 5. The Cardinals were soon up by 10 and kept that lead no matter how hard the Eagles tried. The Cardinal defense played a big part in the team’s comeback. Signe Branham, a senior, had two assertive blocks in the second half denying the Eagles a basket. Heather Ranta, a senior, also had a few clean and hard blocks.  Turns out, the Eagle guards were no match for the Cardinals posts. The Cardinals came back and won the game handily, 59-48. The top scorers for the Cardinals were Chloe Sipsas with 13 points, Heather Ranta with 12 points, Myla Lahti with 9, Rylee Nicoletti with 8, and almost every other player on the team pitching in some points as well. Overall, it was a defining win for the Cardinals, and proves how hard working and driven they are.

The Cardinals will next face the Mercer Tigers tonight, Jan. 26th, for a doubleheader at home. Good luck to the girls’ team on the rest of their season! Keep up the hard work!