Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Sandberg a constant for young Grizzlies

Patrick Slack
Posted 2/1/17

FIELD TWP - It has been a rollercoaster season of sorts for the North Woods girls basketball team.

Possessing a very young roster, the Grizzlies have been getting acclimated to the ebbs and flows …

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Sandberg a constant for young Grizzlies

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FIELD TWP - It has been a rollercoaster season of sorts for the North Woods girls basketball team.

Possessing a very young roster, the Grizzlies have been getting acclimated to the ebbs and flows of the long winter season.

The main constant? Senior Alli Sandberg.

The team’s veteran presence and captain, Sandberg has been the steadying force for North Woods this winter, helping lead a roster with no other seniors or juniors to turn to on the court.

“As a leader, I want to be someone all the girls feel they can go to,” Sandberg said. “Being the oldest player on the floor with the most experience helps me to stay calm when everyone else gets rattled and I am able to take control of the game and calm everyone else down.”

The Grizzlies started the season with a pair of wins, then hit a tough stretch the remainder of December. Things have turned back around in January, with North Woods going 3-5 and sticking around against tougher foes.

“We have had our ups and downs this year,” Sandberg said. “We started out playing really well and then hit some rough patches. We have lost some really close games and I think that has affected our confidence. From the beginning of the year to now, we have learned to play more as a team than as individuals.”

Personally, Sandberg has taken a big step forward this winter, thriving amid a position change and increased expectations.

“This year has been a lot better because I have gotten used to playing with these girls,” Sandberg said. “I am able to use my strengths to my advantage rather than trying to figure out what each girl is used to. Moving from point guard to forward/shooting was hard at first because I was always the one who got the ball to people so they could shoot, now I’m the one who has to shoot. I see the floor really well now and I am able to use this to feed the other girls.”

As the calendar turns to February, Sandberg is reaching the final stretch of her playing days with the Grizzlies. While she expects the end of her time to be sad, she’s excited to see where the Grizzlies she’s helped lead can go down the road.

“Going into these next few weeks is really bittersweet,” Sandberg said. “I’m looking forward to the future, but I’m really going to miss playing with these girls. I’m really proud of how far we have come as a team and I can’t wait to see how the girls improve over the next couple of years.”

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