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Second half leads WCA over Osakis

The Knights’ Jay Zimmerman shoots over the defense of Osakis’ Lane Berberich during their game on January 2. Zimmerman led all scorers with 25 points and added 10 rebounds for the double-double. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

After leading by only three points at halftime, the West Central Area boys’ basketball team shook off some holiday-break rust by scoring 40 points in the second half for a 65-55 home victory on Thursday over Osakis.

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The Knights expect its veteran lineup to be a big advantage at the end of games, and WCA displayed its ability to score down the stretch on Thursday.

“Our kids, we didn’t make a lot of shots right away and Osakis did, but when they counted we made them,” head coach Kraig Hunter said. “We have a veteran team so that’s what we expect.”

The Knights’ main weapon in the game was post player Jay Zimmerman. The undersized Osakis squad did not have the height to keep the 6-foot-6-inch Zimmerman from scoring 25 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

“They passed to me and I was able to finish them,” Zimmerman said. “I had a lot of good assists from my teammates.”

WCA senior guard Dakotah Kashmark did not have his highest-scoring game this season but still finished with 10 points and 10 assists. He was happy handing the ball off to Zimmerman Thursday and letting him work around the basket.

“Just give him the ball and let him go to work,” Kashmark said. “He’s really good; he just does work in there.”

Although Osakis ended up losing the game, head coach Matt Hoelscher was happy with the Silverstreaks’ effort. WCA came into the game with a 5-1 record while Osakis was 3-7.

“Our guys are improving, and that’s a positive for us,” Hoelscher said. “Eventually we will turn these close games into wins. It’s a process.”

Osakis had two players finish in the double digits in scoring. Drew Fearing finished with 16 points and six rebounds, while Hunter Scherr finished with 13 points.

WCA’s record last season was 14-12, but with only one senior graduating from last year’s squad, the Knights expect to have a big year.

“We were hoping to be 7-0,” Hunter said. “We have a lot of guys back so we expect to have a good season.”

The 6-1 start also includes a 4-0 record for the Knights against conference opponents. The only other team still undefeated in the Prairie Conference is Upsala, and the Knights are scheduled to travel there for a game on January 14.

“The Prairie Conference, we’ve been in it for three years, and all the coaches you talk to say this is the best the conference has been in a long time over these past few years,” Hunter said.

The Knights are often led in scoring by Kashmark, a senior who scored his 1,000th career point on December 20 in Royalton. As a tall junior, Zimmerman has shown improvement in his game every season and has proved to be a scoring threat for the Knights as well.

“We love having Jay. He’s one of our most dedicated kids,” Hunter said. “When he started out when he was young, he was big and uncoordinated, and he just keeps getting better and better.”


WCA 25 40 – 65

OSAKIS 22 33 – 55

TOTALS – FG – 23-54; FT – 3-4; Three-point FG – 6-15; Assists – 13; Rebounds – 29; Steals – 9; Turnovers – 14; WCA – FG – 22-45; Three-point FG – 5-17; FT – 16-25; Rebounds – 28; Turnovers – 15

OSAKIS – Berberich – 8 points, 3 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals; Weir – 3 points; Scherr – 13 points, 3 assists; Hendricks – 2 points, 3 assists, 6 rebounds; Wolbeck – 4 points, 3 rebounds; Fearing – 16 points, 2 assists, 6 rebounds, 5 steals; Boogaard – 9 points, 2 assists, 5 rebounds

WCA – Zimmerman – 25 points, 10 rebounds; Kashmark – 10 points, 10 assists; Devin Nelson – 11 points, 3 steals, 2 rebounds, 2 assists; Austin Redepenning – 10 points, 3 assists, 2 steals; Combs – 2 points; Lindor – 3 points; Pfingsten – 2 points; Anderson – 2 points

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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