Top-ranked Otters run past Alexandria
By: Eric Morken, Alexandria Echo Press
The Alexandria girls' basketball team challenged the Class 3A's top-ranked team during stretches, but the game was never really in doubt in a 55-39 win for Fergus Falls on Friday night.
The Otters (13-0), who came into the night beating teams by more than 33 points per game, used a stingy defensive effort and balanced scoring to keep the Cardinals at an arm's length all night. They never trailed after opening the game on a 6-0 run that forced an early Alexandria timeout. Hanna Swenson led all players with 17 points. Standout point guard Brianna Rasmusson had 15, while Anna Monke and Bailey Strand had 10 and nine, respectively. That helped the Otters sweep the season series over their Central Lakes Conference and section rivals.
"I think it's big just because coach [Wendy] Kohler has such a good program," Fergus Falls head coach Brad Strand said. "We knew coming here it was going to be a tough place to play and her kids were going to be prepared, which obviously they were. So for us to get two wins against a team like that, it's big for our program. I think it's going to prep and make us a better team as we enter March. And I have a feeling there might be a third time, we might see these guys again."
Alexandria kept things a lot closer this time around compared to the 73-43 game these two teams played when they met on December 4. Kalli Bowser was key in that as she played big down low against the talented front court of Fergus Falls. Bowser had a team-high 16 points. Amanda Christianson added 12, including a three from the top of the key that made it a 49-35 game with 5:28 left.
The Otters always had an answer to any run the Cardinals put together. Rasmusson had a lot to do with that. She hit a three right before the half that made it 33-16 at the break. The junior floor leader added a couple triples in the second half at key moments to make sure Alexandria never got within single digits.
"They're really good," Christianson said. "I don't know. We just need to cut down on our turnovers and rebound better and I think we can get them. We just need to be stronger with the ball and be more confident."
The win moved Fergus Falls to 9-0 in the CLC. Alexandria fell to 8-7 overall and to 6-3 in conference play with the loss.