Cards march to Wood City title
January 5, 2024
The Wood City Classic girls basketball tournament was good to one local team last week and not so good to another. Cromwell-Wright came in and gathered a pair of wins to take top honors in the tournament, while the previously undefeated Lumberjacks were shocked in back-to-back games and went winless in their own tournament.
The Cardinals opened play with an impressive 71-62 win over Section 7AAA power Rock Ridge as five players hit double digits in scoring. Jill Anderson scored 12 points while Kyra Granholm, Emaleigh Olesiak, and Siiena Anderson all had 11 points. Marissa Dahl finished with 10 points.
"Prior to the season, we knew that Rock Ridge was going to be one of the best teams on our schedule," said Cards coach Jeff Gronner. "We got some great balance in scoring and we handled the full court pressure. By far, it was our best game of the year."
Also scoring for the Cards were Bryanna Foster (8), Isabella Anderson (6) and Mya Gronner (2).
While the Cards had first-game success in the tournament, things could not have gone much worse for the Lumberjacks, who dropped a 48-41 decision to the Mesabi East Giants.
"We really struggled with finishing. I think the small things we had done leading up to the game, we didn't do," said Cloquet coach Heather Young. "Nothing went our way and it just wasn't our night. I told the girls after the game: we not only battled our opponent, but we battled ourselves."
Cloquet's leading scorer was Lelani Fonoti, who finished with 8 points. Quinn Danielson and Paige Goranson scored 7 points each. Other scorers included Ava Carlson (6), Carly Johnson (4) and Kiley Issendorf, Nattie Butler and Lauren Hughes (3).
Cromwell-Wright wrapped up the championship by easily knocking off Mesabi East 64-38 on Thursday.
"Mesabi has a couple of 6-footers in the lineup and they play a zone," coach Gronner said. "We came out and destroyed their 2-3 zone and we were up by 20 points just nine minutes into the game. It was just a very good performance by our team."
Emaleigh Olesiak hit five 3-pointers in the game and had a game-high 17 points for the Cards. Kyra Granholm added 12 points, and Bryanna Foster scored 11. Other scorers included Siiena Anderson (9), Isabella Anderson (8), Jill Anderson (5) and Marissa Dahl (2).
Cloquet's second game was a bit better than their first, but the result was still the same, as they fell 67-57 to Rock Ridge.
"Rock Ridge just shot well and I think we saw their very best game," coach Young said. "We did start getting back to doing what we did earlier in the season. We are banking on the process, and I really think once we get back to doing the little things, then we'll be fine. Right now we are just fighting through midseason things and I am sure we'll get back to where we need to be."
Johnson led Cloquet with 15 points, while Fonoti and Carlson scored 9 points each. Issendorf and Hughes added 8, Danielson scored 6 points, while Goranson and Butler each had 2 points.
"The whole tournament had a great atmosphere and we need to thank all the volunteers who did so much," Young said. "It is so nice to be home and not have to travel. We get a chance to see teams that we normally don't play very often, and the same goes for them. Overall it was just a great experience for all the teams."
Cloquet was back in regular season action Tuesday, losing to Proctor 55-40.