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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The Brandon-Evansville boys basketball team battled back to within one possession of Parkers Prairie on Thursday night but fell in a 62-57 final. The two Section 6A and Little Eight Conference teams were tied at 27 at the break. "Early in the second half, (Travis) Yahnke got going around the basket and they hit a few threes," B-E head coach John Holsten said. "We got within one possession in the end, but they knocked down their free throws."
The Osakis girls basketball team was tested by Swanville on Thursday night, but outscored the Bulldogs by 12 in the second half to secure a 52-37 win. The victory improved the Silverstreaks to 11-0 and to 4-0 in the Prairie Conference. "This was a tough, hard-fought win tonight for the girls," head coach Pat Kalpin said. "We struggled shooting the ball all night, but defensively I thought we played well. Overall, I thought we played well. We just didn't shoot well and we understand that this happens."
The Alexandria gymnastics team ran into the 11th-ranked team in Class A in Sartell-St. Stephen, and the Sabres had everything going for them in a 141.425-134.825 win on Thursday. Sartell-St. Stephen took first place in every event and the all around. Alexandria's Sydney Gray paced the Cardinals in second in the all around, while Rachel Boyden was third and Joslyn Kent fourth.
The Ashby boys basketball team played close with one of the top teams in the Section 6A field on Thursday night as the Arrows fell 55-43 to Hillcrest Lutheran Academy. The Comets are undefeated at 8-0, but they couldn't completely shake a now 1-7 Ashby team. Hillcrest led 30-22 at the break after a Sean McGuire three. The Comets didn't separate much further than that after halftime but had enough to secure the win.
The West Central Area boys basketball team ran into the top-ranked team in the subsection by the QRF standings on Thursday night and fell in a 53-48 game to Ortonville. The Knights (5-4) fought the Trojans (8-2) to the end after falling behind 14-0 at the start. Ortonville knocked down four threes in that run, but WCA regrouped and pulled within 21-18 and 34-26 at the break.
News broke late last week that the University of Minnesota had hired a new football coach in the boisterous P.J. Fleck from Western Michigan. I watched the press conference announcing his hire on Jan. 6 and admittedly cringed a bit during some instances but came away pretty impressed overall. There was the talk of getting back to the Rose Bowl and winning championships. We've heard that all before in Minnesota, most notably from the failed Tim Brewster not that long ago.
This is a look at how some area athletes are doing at their respective colleges or in their athletic careers. Similar pieces will run periodically through the fall, winter and spring seasons. Email email@example.com with any more detailed information on the athletes listed or the names of other athletes who are playing college sports that you would like to see included in future publications.
The Alexandria girls basketball team shows no signs of slowing down in the Central Lakes Conference. The Cardinals (10-2, 6-0) dominated another team in league play on Thursday as Sauk Rapids-Rice (6-5, 3-3) proved no match in a 66-31 final.
BOYS BASKETBALL Alexandria vs. Albany, 7:30 p.m. Osakis at St. John’s Prep, 7:30 p.m. Minnewaska vs. LPGE, 6 p.m. GIRLS BASKETBALL Osakis at Barnesville, 7:30 p.m. Ashby at Battle Lake, 7:15 p.m. DANCE Alexandria at Willmar, 6:30 p.m. GIRLS HOCKEY
The Alexandria wrestling team had trailed most of the night against Rocori before a forfeit win for eighth-ranked Quintin Kluver-Longfellow at 220 pounds made it a 29-28 Cardinals’ lead. That set the stage for sophomore heavyweight Deryk Neu, who wasn’t about to let an opportunity to secure the win slip away. His 11-2 major decision over junior Dylan Shafer wrapped up Alexandria’s first victory in the Central Lakes Conference in a 33-28 final on Thursday.