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Big Lake runs past Alex boys basketball

The Alexandria boys’ basketball team dropped its second game in as many nights on Saturday as Big Lake came to town and handed the Cardinals a 79-67 defeat.

The Hornets moved to 6-1 with the win and dropped Alexandria to 3-2. Big Lake came into the game outscoring teams by 19.5 points per game this year and showed why with an offense that was clicking on all cylinders.

“They were talking really well and that got them a lot of easy looks,” Alexandria senior forward Chase Kohler said. “They set a lot of hard screens and we weren’t talking, which was another main reason. They hit their shots and we didn’t.”

The Cardinals led early before Big Lake went on a big run to take a 45-30 lead at the break. Alexandria got it back to within single digits early in the second half, but the Hornets were able to get a lot of easy buckets around the basket to pull away. They set the tempo by constantly pushing the pace and making the extra pass to get clean looks around the bucket.

“They got shots that they wanted and where they wanted them,” Alexandria head coach Forrest Witt said. “I thought for the first six minutes of the game we played very well and defended things well. Then things started to snowball on us a little bit where we weren’t getting shots. We were turning the ball over and then that started to affect our defense. If shots aren’t falling and you aren’t doing the job at one end, you really got to cinch up and defend during those times to keep yourself in the game.”

The Cardinals also lost a close contest in Sartell on Friday night in a 64-60 game. Kohler wasn’t about to use the fact that they played the night before as an excuse for a slow night against the Hornets.

“It really shouldn’t be an excuse,” Kohler said. “We’ve got to get out there. It’s a basketball game. There’s a lot tougher things in life than that.”

Big Lake had a lot to do with Alexandria’s inability to keep it close down the stretch. The Hornets have scored at least 80 points three times this season and are averaging 72.1 points per game through seven games. That’s the second highest scoring offense of any team in the Mississippi 8 Conference.

“They’re a good team,” Witt said. “We talked about that at the end of the game. I don’t think they took a bad shot all night, and I think we took our fair share of bad shots. That’s a sign of a good team that they share the basketball and they know what a good shot is and when to take shots and when to look for a better shot. They did that tonight.”

The Cardinals have plenty of opportunities to put this behind them before the Christmas break. They have three more games next week with the first coming on Tuesday when Little Falls comes to town. Alexandria will travel to Detroit Lakes on Friday night before coming back home to host New Prague on Saturday.

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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