On an upward arch
Stratford girls even their record
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By Paul Lecker
STRATFORD – The Stratford girls basketball team headed into play at last week’s Bangor Holiday Tournament feeling a lot better of itself than it did a few weeks prior.
After a tough 1-5 start, the Tigers won four games in a row prior to the championship game at Bangor on Dec. 28 to even their record and turn their season on an upward arch.
“We (are) also cutting down on our turnovers and as a team are working better together,” Stratford coach Tammie Christopherson said after a 47-39 win at Auburndale on Dec. 22. “We had some injuries early on too and they’re back now, and it seems to be coming together.
“I feel like when we roll through the second half of the conference we’re going to go after those big dogs and see if we can’t clip a few of them.”
Stratford has turned to its defense as its catalyst. Without any dominant scorers, the Tigers use what it can get from each individual player and then turn to the defensive end to create stops, and maybe some easy baskets on the other end.
Seniors Kaylee Hollatz, Taya Nett, and Chelsey Gliniecki have been the top offensive players, with juniors Mariah Zawislan, Callie Lehman, and Blaire Lindner, and freshman Breanna Ackley chipping in. Senior Olympia Garrigan and juniors, Jadyn Dahlke and Brooke Peterson, have also provided sparks for the team throughout the season off the bench.
“We are not a prolific offensive team,” Christopherson said. “We started the season 1-5 with a heck of a schedule. We found our way a little bit, found what works for us. We are grinders. We’re not going to go out and score 70 points. We do what we do, and we’re starting to do it really well. We’re starting to take some teams by surprise now.”
Trailing 8-3 early against Auburndale, Stratford had an 11-0 run, which included two free throws and a 3-pointer from Nett, and a 3-pointer from Ackley.
Gliniecki added another 3-pointer, and Stratford closed the half on an 8-0 run to take a 26-14 lead at intermission.
Stratford finished off the game strong, with its defense, holding Auburndale to only two points in the final 4:31 after the Apaches had closed to within two of its lead.
A three-point play and another basket by Lehman, and three free throws in the final 1:38 allowed Stratford to win by eight.
Nett had 14 points and four rebounds, Lindner added nine rebounds, and Gliniecki had 12 points and eight rebounds in the victory for the Tigers.
“Our defense has really locked down,” Christopherson said. “We graduated a lot of our offense last year. I feel like everyone is looking to score now, we have a different leading scorer almost every night. If everybody can dump in six or eight points, we’ll take that. I think before, a lot of people were shying away from looking to score, and I think now I have eight or nine girls that are looking to put the ball up.”
Paul Lecker is the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com, a contributor to Hub City Times Sports. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.