Eric Morken is the sports editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.
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A clash of two unbeaten teams that reside in the same subsection is supposed to be filled with drama down to the wire. Fans that showed up to see second-ranked Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa take on an 8-0 Ashby team didn't get that on Monday night. Instead, they saw a dominant performance put on by the Jaguars in a 72-27 win over the Arrows. If the defending Class A state champs still had to send a message to the rest of the 6A field, consider it done. "I think it shows that we come out to play every game," junior forward Billy Borgerding said.
The Osakis girls got the big win they were looking for this season in a 49-40 game at third-ranked Sauk Centre on Tuesday night. The Silverstreaks came into the game 8-1 but looking for that signature win that would really cement them as a section contender. That's exactly what they got against a Mainstreeters team that was 10-0 before running into Osakis. "I felt that from start to finish, this team played their best game of the year," head coach Pat Kalpin said of his girls. "We were able to build an early lead in the game and keep that lead the rest of the game.
To outsiders, it might have felt like the window for a deep run into the Class A state tournament had closed after the Parkers Prairie girls came up short against Ada-Borup in the section finals last winter. After all, the Panthers were losing two talented seniors in Tamara Schmidt and Kaylee Dorn. Any thoughts of Parkers Prairie taking a drastic step back were a bit premature, though.
The Brandon-Evansville girls' basketball team has climbed all the way out of an 0-5 hole to reach the .500 mark with its fifth straight win on Tuesday night. The Chargers trailed 8-0 against Hillcrest Lutheran Academy but turned that around for a 56-24 win. They led 19-12 at the half and expanded that with a 37-point second half behind a 45 percent shooting night from the field. "We had a slow start again," head coach Dick Simpson said. "We just missed shots and then we kind of caught fire. We had eight different players score, so that was nice.
The Alexandria Nordic ski team didn't have to worry about mild conditions ruining its chances at hosting its home meet this season. A year after just getting on snow proved to be a challenge, Alexandria welcomed in 10 teams on a cool and calm morning at the Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center. First-year head coach Jeremy Rapp had a lot of work to do leading up to the race in what is the only home meet of the season in Alexandria. "I have to give a huge shout out to my stellar cast of parent volunteers for helping make the meet a success," Rapp said.
The Cardinal girls' hockey team made a statement that it might be the team to beat in the Section 6A field this year and for the foreseeable future last Thursday night when the Cardinals used a young nucleus to skate past Fergus Falls for the second time this season. The Otters came into the Runestone Community Center with a 3-1 record in section play. That lone loss came against Alexandria in a 3-0 game on November 13.
The Osakis girls never let St. John's Prep believe they had a chance to pull off an upset in the first game back from the holiday break last Friday. The Silverstreaks jumped all over a 1-9 Johnnies team by taking a 37-8 lead into the break. Osakis carried that to a 57-18 win that moved the Streaks to 8-1 on the season and to a 4-1 mark in league play. "This was a solid win for our team tonight," head coach Pat Kalpin said. "After not playing for two weeks, the girls were eager to get out there and play a game again. I thought our energy level was high the whole game.
The Osakis boys ran into another strong team as they searched for their first win of the season last Thursday night. The Silverstreaks came off their holiday break by playing a 7-2 Battle Lake team. Five days later, Osakis welcomed in an unbeaten Upsala team that handed the Silverstreaks an 80-38 loss that knocked them to 0-8 on the season. Sometimes, a team has to tip its cap to an opponent. That's exactly what head coach Matt Hoelscher did after his team's loss to the seventh-ranked Cardinals. "We played with them the first few minutes," Hoelscher said.
The Brandon-Evansville girls used a late run in the first half to propel them to a 62-48 win over Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley last Friday night. The Chargers trailed by seven points before Carly Steffenson and Megan Kokett hit back-to-back threes to give their team a little momentum. That would turn into the story of the game as Brandon-Evansville finished with nine triples on the night.
The Alexandria Nordic ski team will host its only home meet of the season this Saturday at Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center. Cardinals head coach Jeremy Rapp said teams from Willmar, Brainerd, Little Falls and Bemidji were set to be there as of Wednesday, the last day for schools to send in rosters for the meet. Varsity competition will kick things off at 10 a.m. with the girls' 5K classic race. Both the boys' and girls' classic races will begin with interval starts with two skiers going every 15 seconds.