After getting days to have some quality practices, the Irish girls’ basketball team headed to Rockford for their second road conference game. Rockford came into the game with a 4-7 record after winning three in a row at a holiday tournament in Hibbing. In contrast, Maple Lake came off of two losses over the holidays. The Irish girls continued their road wins, taking Rockford with a final score of 66-59.
The team found out that Rayne Coughlin will not be back in the lineup for the remainder of this season due to a knee injury sustained against Upsala. Dealing well with this situation, the Irish jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead behind the shooting of Brooke Decker who hit two early three-pointers.
Gaining familiarity with the strategies of wrestling throughout the beginning of their season, the Annandale-Maple Lake wrestlers have found a “never let up” mentality tactic to get ahead of their opponents. This attitude played a role on Thursday, December 22, when ANML took on Delano for Parent’s Night.
Wrestling in front of an entire gym on a night where parents are recognized for their support and leadership could cause either stage fright or amplify a wrestler’s performance. For the Annandale-Maple Lake wrestlers, the situation added incentive to push for victory.
The girls’ basketball team got a break from being in the school hallways, but not off the court as they attended a two-day Holiday Tournament in Upsala on December 28 & 29. There they played two tough games against Upsala and Melrose. The Irish didn’t come out on top, but it was a great learning experience for the players.
On Tuesday evening, January 31, the Maple Lake boys’ basketball team traveled to Rockford for a conference game.
The Irish defused the Rockets, winning the game 67-58. With the win the team’s record stood at 4-3 after the first time through the conference.
“This was a great team win,” said Head Coach Tim Staloch. “Our defense, especially in the second half, led us to victory. Zach (Stokman) hit some clutch free throws and Joe (Mooney) had his second game in a row with 20 rebounds.”
On the road for the 12th time this season, the Irish went to Royalton to compete in a non-conference game. The Irish played hard throughout the whole game, especially doing well on the defensive end. The Irish came out on top, 51-31.
From start to finish, the Irish played tough man-to-man defense, forcing the Royals to have many turnovers through the course of the game. Unable to create an offensive rhythm due to a mysterious match-up zone, the Irish had to rely on their pressure defense in order to come out with a victory. The halftime score was 28-17.
Annandale-Maple Lake has shown their success through many matches, tri-meets, and tournaments. Saturday, February 4, was no different as the wrestlers pinned their way to the top of their brackets and took third place as a team in the Mankato East Cougar Invite.
With a week to prepare for the tournament, it was tough to decide whether the wrestlers needed to be pushed or given a break. The coaching staff took a chance and adopted a more laid-back practice style for the week.
Competing against one team can become monotonous. So, the Maple Lake Irish gymnastics squad hosted a Tri Meet consisting of Mound-Westonka and Dassel-Cokato on Thursday, January 26.
These opponents provided tough competition as Dassel-Cokato ended up in first place with a score of 158.8. Maple Lake took second, just falling behind with 157.275 points and Mound-Westonka ended with 127.4 points.
“Both teams have great programs and great gymnasts,” said Head Coach Kaitlyn Helmbrecht.
On Tuesday night, Jan. 24, the Irish were on the road at Holdingford. This was the only team Maple Lake had yet to play in the conference this season. Breaking their five-game losing streak, the Irish defeated Holdingford with a score of 54-43.
Both teams played tough man-to-man defense, but the Irish grabbed the early lead and never really looked back. Getting the Huskers’ main point guard/leading scorer in foul trouble for most of the game was crucial, leading to the Irish victory.
The Maple Lake Irish gymnastics squad headed to Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted on Friday, January 20, in the hopes of adding a win to their record. Thanks to their persistence in practice, they were able to inch past their competition and pull out a victory by less than a point.
With a final score of 126.225, Maple Lake took advantage of every extra point awarded and beat out Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, which earned 125.075 points on the night.