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Cards stumble in holiday tournament

Three Moorhead defenders swarm Alexandria center Brooke Heggie (45) as she goes up for a shot during the third-place game of the team’s holiday tournament on Saturday night. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

The Alexandria girls’ basketball team was 4-0 heading into its annual home holiday tournament, but losses to Robbinsdale Armstrong and Moorhead have given the Cardinals a new perspective on the season.

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The Cardinals lost 77-68 to Robbinsdale Armstrong Friday in its opening round matchup after it was unable to hold on to an early second-half lead. That carried into the third-place game Saturday as Alexandria’s offense was ice cold in a 44-34 loss to Moorhead. The 34 team points were a season low for Alexandria.

After Saturday, the Cardinals were determined to hit the practice floor and get back on track after the disappointing finish in the holiday games.

“This team has put too much time in during the summertime in the weight room, on the AAU circuit and in our own tournaments and open gyms,” head coach Wendy Kohler said. “We’re going to find a way to just regroup and get going again.”

Amanda Christianson led the Cardinals with 11 points on Saturday against Moorhead, and Brooke Heggie finished with eight. Christianson scored eight of her 11 points in the second half but was unable to lead the team to a third place finish.

Christianson said the team’s play over the weekend can be used as a learning opportunity and motivation as the season progresses.

“I was just trying to do whatever I could to help us pull out the win, and I just tried to let my mind go and just play the game,” Christianson said.

Kohler said the Cardinals saw nothing new from defenses in the tournament but struggled with turnovers and foul trouble. Starting point guard Karly Betterman also suffered a sprained ankle in Friday’s game against Robbinsdale Armstrong. These issues Friday followed the Cardinals into the third place game, and poor shooting numbers were not helpful.

“It kind of just followed through toward today (Saturday) with a little bit of a different rotation,” Kohler said. “We were by far our own worst enemy, but good teams will find a way to revamp and regroup and stick together.”

The Cardinals had nearly a week to regroup before playing its next game on the road against Brainerd tonight. Kohler said the team will use that time to work on creating a positive mindset and getting healthy.

“We just have to get everybody healthy, get our confidence back and believe in what we do,” she said.

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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