Alex boys' basketball: Cards hold off Willmar's chargeA 21-point lead almost disappeared before Alexandria held on for a one-point win over Willmar.
The Cardinal boys set the tone for their game against Willmar early in the Tuesday contest, making sure they had enough offense to hold out for a 77-76 Central Lakes Conference victory.
“Throughout the first half, Alexandria would sustain complete control of the game on both ends of the floor and build a 17-point lead at the half,” said Cardinal head coach Forrest Witt. “The first eight minutes of the second half went back-and-forth as the Cardinals would stretch its lead to 21 at one point, while Willmar would cut the lead to 14 at another juncture.”
The Willmar Cards increased defensive pressure in the second half to pull themselves back into contention.
“Utilizing full-court pressure and a half-court trap, Willmar clawed back into the game,” explained Witt. “Down the stretch, Alex hit some clutch free-throws and made some big stops with rebounds to seal the victory.”
Alexandria made 14 of its 19 shots before halftime.
“That first half was the most complete, solid half of basketball we’ve seen in the past four years. The effort and execution was impressive and as a result, we go into the break with a 17-point advantage on a good basketball team.”
John Vogeler had 18 points to lead Alexandria. Logan Doyle added 17 and AJ Anderson 14. That helped snap a two-game skid and move the home Cardinals to 9-12 on the season.
“You always want to be playing your best basketball toward the end of the season,” Witt said. “So hopefully this is an indication of what’s to come over the next several weeks. These kids have stuck with it when they easily could have thrown in the towel. We like the resilience of these kids to keep plugging away and believing in each other.
Willmar 28 48 — 76
Alexandria 45 32 — 77
WILLMAR – 19-64 FG (13-24 3-pt); 5-9 FT; 25 rebounds; 20 fouls … Scoring: Dean Stier 11, Joe Leuze 2, Jimmy Unger 15, Matt Suedbeck 5, Jeremy Olson 14, Mo Mohamud 20, Austin Rambow 4, Alex Grove 5 … 3-point shots: Stier 3, Unger 4, Suedbeck 1, Mohamud 5 … Rebound leaders: Olson 7 … Assist leaders: Stier 7 … Steal leaders: Mohamud 4
ALEXANDRIA – 26-40 FG (7-10 3-pt); 18-23 FT; 25 rebounds; 9 fouls … Scoring: Jordan Smith 4, Austin Storm 13, John Vogeler 18, Tanner Rice 9, Logan Doyle 17, Ted Deitz 2, AJ Anderson 14 … 3-point shots: Storm 3, Vogeler 1, Rice 1, Anderson 2