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Boys basketball: Paulson posts huge double-double as Knights win thriller

Logan Paulson

The West Central Area boys basketball team won a thriller on Friday night to wrap up a championship at the Minnesota National Bank Holiday Classic in Pelican Rapids.

The Knights needed two overtimes to do it, but they hit eight of 10 free throws down the stretch to fend off host Pelican Rapids 81-77.

"What an atmosphere and exciting game for fans," WCA head coach Kraig Hunter said. "Neither team deserved to lose as both our kids and the Pelican Rapids kids made many huge plays in crucial moments. We give Pelican Rapids a lot of credit for a great battle."

The Knights (4-3) lost point guard Brady Sabolik after he fouled out in the first overtime. Backup point guard Jacob Bright is also out with a concussion, leaving the Knights shorthanded at an important position.

"For us to be able to hang on and win without our two main ball handlers and best defenders showed a lot about the rest of our team," Hunter said. "It wasn't easy without Brady on defense as we had no answer for the Vikings' Oakley Kress. Time and time again in the overtimes, he made clutch baskets."

Kress forced a second overtime after tying the game with a bucket with 1.2 seconds left in the first OT. That was after Nick Schermerhorn hit a three at the end of regulation to tie things at 62-62.

Kress led the Vikings (4-4) with 29 points, but WCA's Logan Paulson was even better. The senior center dominated with 30 points and 20 rebounds. Nathan Kaye came off the bench to score 14 points. Sabolik had 12 points and seven assists before fouling out. Logan Nadgwick had nine points, five rebounds and five assists and Dawson Staples (8 points, 9 rebounds) and Ross Anderson (6 points, 10 rebounds) made big plays, as well.

"In these types of wins, you need contributions from the entire team and we got that tonight as several of our players stepped up," Hunter said.

The Knights will try to build on the momentum of this win when they go to undefeated Hancock on Jan. 4 to face the 5-0 Owls.

WCA 31 31 7 12 - 81

PELICAN RAPIDS 31 31 7 8 - 77

TOTALS - WCA - FG - 26-64; FT - 28-43; Rebounds - 51; Pelican Rapids - 31-72; FT - 6-11; Rebounds - 40

WCA - Logan Paulson - 30 points, 20 rebounds; Nathan Kaye - 14 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals; Brady Sabolik - 12 points, 7 assists; Logan Nadgwick - 9 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists; Dawson Staples - 8 points, 9 rebounds; Ross Anderson - 6 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists; Teigen Moritz - 2 points

PELICAN RAPIDS SCORING - Oakley Kress - 29; Hayden Christenson - 16; Jacob Gottenborg - 12; Nick Schermerhorn - 8; Zack Sjolie - 4; McHale Korf - 3; Kaleb Tollefson - 3; Dillon Such - 2

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.

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