The clich in sports when two teams play well is, "It's too bad one had to lose."
Nobody was saying that Tuesday after a Central Lakes Conference girls' basketball showdown between the Brainerd Warriors and Alexandria Cardinals at Brainerd High School.
What people should have said was "It's too bad somebody had to win."
Neither team played like it wanted to win, but the Cardinals played two minutes of decent basketball in the third quarter to steal a 40-28 victory.
Brainerd's problems consisted of: Nine missed shots below the basket, two free throw attempts the entire game (both misses), shooting 24 percent from the field and succumbing to an Alexandria press late in the third quarter that turned a 21-21 game to a 28-21 Cardinal lead after three quarters.
"This has been our nemesis all year long," said Warriors coach Carl Hendrickson. "We have put kids in position to make easy shots inside and we miss them in practice and we've been missing in the game. That's got to come to an end."
The Warriors scored just four points in each of the second and third quarters. When they needed to mount a comeback, Brainerd managed just seven fourth-quarter points on 3-of-13 shooting.
Sarah Gervais' three-point basket in the fourth was Brainerd's highlight of the second half.
Alexandria 40, Warriors 28
The stat: BHS shot 24 percent from the field and was 0-for-2 from the foul line.
Next: at St. Cloud Tech, 7:30 p.m. Friday.
"We were tired and we spent a lot of energy," said Hendrickson. "We threw everything we had at them. We mixed up our defenses just trying to get them out of sync on offense.
"In the first half we did a very good job of that. But when you spend that much energy you're going to get tired in the fourth quarter. You're going to get more tired in the fourth quarter when you have to work so hard to get a few baskets."
Alexandria went to a full-court press near the end of the third quarter. The strategy helped the Cardinals force three straight Brainerd turnovers and grab the momentum. Alison Miller capitalized on all three turnovers, collecting three consecutive layups.
"That spurt really hurt us," said Hendrickson. " We didn't take care of the ball really well. That gave them a lot of momentum and we couldn't get the momentum to swing back in our direction because we couldn't get a basket."
Alexandria kept the momentum in the fourth quarter, outscoring Brainerd 12-7 to improve its conference mark to 5-1.
Alexandria 9 6 13 12 -- 40
Brainerd 13 4 4 7 -- 28
Tiffany Eberly 5, Olivia Rice 5, Jenni Strand 9, Maria Steinhagen 6, Alison Miller 7, Amanda Nomsen, Amy Anderson 7. Team totals: FG 16-39 (40 percent), FT 5-11 (45 percent), 3-point baskets: 3-7 (Strand 1, Eberly 1, Rice 1). Conference -- 5-1. Overall -- 5-6.
Megan Arns 6, Breanna Olson 5, Erica Nelson 2, Maria Swanson 4, Haley Bower 2, Cara Wiltse 2, Lindsey Jourdan 4, Sarah Gervais 3. Team totals: FG 13-54 (24 percent), FT 0-2 (0 percent), 3-point baskets: 2-11 (Gervais 1, Olson 1). Conference -- 4-3. Overall -- 6-4. Next game: at St. Cloud Tech Friday 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Rebounds -- B 24 (Swanson 6, Nelson 5, Arns 5), A 25. Turnovers B 10, A 14. Assists -- B 7 (Arns 2, Olson 2). Steals -- B 10 (Swanson 4, Nelson 3). Blocks -- B 2 (Arns, Olson).
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