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Sports roundup from Tuesday, December 1

BOYS BASKETBALL

Alexandria 58, Willmar 46

In a showdown of Cardinals, Willmar’s offense deserted them in the second half and they fell to Alexandria 58-46 on Tuesday night in a Central Lakes Conference game to fall to 0-2 on the season.

Noah Slagter scored 19 points with three 3-pointers and three assists for Willmar and Zach Radermacher chipped in three treys and 11 points.

Willmar stayed in the game closely early, trailing by just three at the half. Its swarming defense piled up 10 steals to Alexandria’s three.

But eventually, Alexandria got more out of its possessions. The visitors shot 44 percent from the field to Willmar’s 38 percent and also scored 18 points off 19 Willmar turnovers.

Alexandria employed a balanced scoring attack, with seven players scoring at least five points. Spencer Hockert led the way with 14 and Alec Wensman just missed a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds, with four coming on the offensive end.

Alexandria also had a 32-29 advantage in rebounds. Tyler Johnson grabbed a team-high seven boards for Willmar.

Battle Lake 71, Brandon-Evansville 56

The Brandon-Evansville boys basketball team fell to 0-2 on the early season after falling to perennial power Battle Lake 71-56 on Tuesday night.

The Battlers built a 30-14 lead at the break and withstood a rally by the Chargers in the second half. Brandon-Evansville outscored Battle Lake 42-41 over the final 18 minutes.

Eric VanErp had 25 points for the Battlers and Andrew VanErp finished with 20.

Senior forward Sam Anderson had 16 points and nine rebounds to lead the Chargers. Skyler Quinn had nine points and eight rebounds and McKenon Plaster added nine points and five rebounds. Taylor Bitzan finished with nine points, six rebounds, three steals and four assists in a nice all-around game.

“The second half was encouraging,” Chargers’ head coach John Holsten said. “I think we can build on that. I thought our passing was a lot crisper and our shot selection was much better.”

Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley 73, Ashby 44

The Ashby boys basketball team couldn’t keep up with Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley in a 73-44 loss on Tuesday night.

The Arrows fell behind 38-17 by the break and couldn’t climb back in it in the second half. Miles Wing led Ashby with 16 points. Nathan Cook added 12 points, six rebounds and six steals. Eric Amundson added six points and Scott Johnson grabbed nine rebounds, while Jordan Bauer led CGB with 22 points.

The Arrows shot just 15-of-51 from the field (29 percent) and 6-of-14 from the free throw line.

“We came out flat to start the game and got into a big hole going into the locker room,” Ashby head coach Jeremy Knick said. “Our defensive energy picked up towards the end of the first half and the first couple minutes of the second half led by the energy of Nathan Cook and Christian Koefod, but we couldn't maintain it. We got beat up really bad on the boards. Since we aren’t big we are going to need to box out better and we need to start games better.”

Hillcrest Lutheran Academy 81, Parkers Prairie 68

The Parkers Prairie boys basketball team fell to 1-1 on the season with an 81-68 loss to Hillcrest Lutheran Academy on Tuesday night.

The Comets improved to 2-0 overall.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Parkers Prairie 57, Bertha-Hewitt 28

The Parkers Prairie girls basketball team had no problems in its season open as the Panthers won 57-28 over Bertha-Hewitt on Tuesday night.

Megan Benzinger had a nice night with three triples and 18 points to lead the way for Parkers Prairie. Megan Dreger added 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and 13 steals.

Taylor Shamp led Bertha-Hewitt with nine points.

Osakis 56, Morris Area 45

The Osakis girls basketball team won its season opener at Morris Area-Chokio-Alberta on Tuesday night as the Silverstreaks finished off a 56-45 win.

Brandon-Evansville 65, Park Christian 64

The Brandon-Evansville girls basketball team used three players in double figures to overcome a 30-point night from Morgan Nepstad as the Chargers beat Park Christian 65-64 in the season opener on Tuesday night.

Carrigan Okerlund led B-E with 14 points. Elizabeth Vinson added 13 and Kylee Hansen finished with 11. Lizzy Friedrich had a team-high nine rebounds, while Kennedy Lund added seven points and six rebounds.

The Chargers got 1-of-2 free throws from Katie Kokett in the final seconds. That proved to be the difference as Nepstad hit a half-court three at the buzzer to cut the final deficit to one. The Falcons won just eight games last season and lost 74-53 at Brandon-Evansville, but Chargers’ head coach Dick Simpson was impressed with their improvement after this game.

“They were much improved,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect. You play them once a year and don’t see them in the playoffs. [Nepstad] with 30 is a senior, but they started a ninth grader, played an eighth grader, had a junior and a sophomore score 23 between them.”

Brandon-Evansville had to rally from a 27-20 deficit in the first half to make it a two-point game at the break. The Falcons led 40-31 with 12 minutes, 30 seconds left. That’s when the Chargers went on a 28-14 run to secure the win.

“It was a good comeback,” Simpson said. “There’s always something to work on, but they really shot well. That was the big thing, but we kind of had that spurt late in the game and held them off, made enough free throws in the end.”

Brandon-Evansville won despite shooting 23-of-73 from the field and 15-of-33 from the free throw line. The Falcons shot 46 percent from the field but had 21 less attempts (24-52).

Minnewaska 66, Paynesville Area 44

The Minnewaska girls basketball team won its season opener with a 66-44 victory over Paynesville Area on Tuesday.

WRESTLING

The West Central Area-Ashby-Evansville wrestling team got its season off on the right foot with two wins in its opening triangular on Tuesday.

The Knights beat Wadena-Deer Creek 58-9 and took down Breckenridge 46-9.

Kaleb Getz got things going for WCA-A-E at 106 pounds against Breckenridge by getting a pin in 3:19. A Chris Onstad forfeit win followed at 113.

The Knights had seven wins on the board before Breckenridge finally stopped the bleeding at 170 pounds. Kaden Spindler (132, fall, 1:43), Levi Larkin (138, fall, 1:26) and Keaton Long (145, fall, 1:59) all earned their team six points by picking up pins. Tyler Onstad earned a tech fall in a 17-2 match at 152 pounds and Kode Seifert got a forfeit win at 160.

Anthony Miller rounded out the lineup for WCA-A-E at heavyweight with a pin in 28 seconds.

Things came just as easy for the Knights against Wadena-Deer Creek. Getz won by fall again in 1:57 at 106, while Drake Swanson started a run of seven straight six-point individual matches for his team by getting a forfeit win at 120.

Jake Nohre (126) won by fall in 3:29. Spindler (132, fall, 1:46) and Larkin (138, fall, 3:15) did the same before Onstad got a forfeit win at 145.

Long got another pin at 152 in 4:25, while Alex Butcher earned a forfeit win at 160. Wadena-Deer Creek got its second win of the night at 170 pounds in a pin from Blaine Snyder, but Zach Mattson rounded out the lineup for WCA-A-E with a forfeit win at heavyweight.

The Osakis wrestling team split its two matches in its home triangular on Tuesday night, beating Bertha-Hewitt-Verndale 43-33 after falling to Pequot Lakes-Pine River-Backus 45-23.

Osakis got off to a quick start against Bertha-Hewitt with wins from Nathan Kulzer (106, 7-4), Andrew Drevlow (113, forfeit) and Seth Johnson (120, tech fall, 18-3) in the first three weight classes.

Gage Zieske added a tech fall win (21-5) at 132 pounds, while Brendon Coyer won by fall at 138 in 2:54. Garret Sunder had a pin in just 30 seconds at 152 and Colton Waldvogel was not far behind with a pin in 37 seconds at 160 pounds. Darrin Stoetzel had Osakis’ other win with a forfeit at 145 pounds.

Wins were a little harder to come by against Pequot Lakes.

The Silverstreaks got another quick win from Kulzer at 106 with a pin in 36 seconds and added a forfeit win from Drevlow at 113. That was part of Osakis building an early lead where the Silverstreaks added wins from Zieske (126, tech fall, 18-2), Stoetzel (132, 5-0) and Coyer (138, 5-2).

Pequot Lakes rallied from there, winning the next eight matches. The final five of those came by fall as the Road Crew racked up big points to secure the win.

The Minnewaska wrestling team ran into a buzz saw in Dawson-Boyd-Lac qui Parle Valley-Montevideo on Tuesday night as the Lakers dropped a 64-6 match.

The Lakers’ lone wins came at 106 pounds from Mason Blair in a 5-2 decision and in an 11-7 win from Tyler Vanluik at 195 pounds. Minnewaska had to forfeit at 113, 126, 160, 170, 220 and 285 pounds. That made for wide gap in the final score. 

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

(320) 763-1229