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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On paper, Tuesday’s match-up between the Alexandria and Brainerd girls basketball teams should have been a tight contest. Both teams have winning records and have played well against some of the top teams in the Central Lakes Conference. The Warriors lost to 13-0 Willmar by just one point on Jan. 11, but they could not get much of anything going against another stingy defensive effort by Alexandria in a 56-45 win for the Cardinals.
The Minnewaska boys basketball team got one of its biggest wins of the season on Monday night as the Lakers knocked off West Central Conference co-leader BOLD, 57-48. The Warriors (12-3, 5-1 WCC) came in unbeaten in the WCC and average almost 76 points per game. The Lakers (9-4, 4-2 WCC) held them to 36 percent shooting (18-50) and to their lowest point total of the season. That led Minnewaska to the win despite it shooting 40 percent iself (19-47), including just 3-of-17 from three.
BOYS BASKETBALL Brandon-Evansville at Ashby, 7:15 p.m. Osakis at Bertha-Hewitt, 7:30 p.m. WCA at Ortonville, 7:15 p.m. Minnewaska vs. Breckenridge, 7:15 p.m. Parkers Prairie vs. Underwood, 7:15 p.m. GIRLS BASKETBALL Alexandria vs. Brainerd, 7:15 p.m.
The West Central Area girls basketball team pushed its winning streak to six games on Friday night and did so with an overtime win at Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley. The Knights (11-3) won 70-66 after the Wolverines (6-3) rallied in the second half to force the extra session. West Central Area led 55-45 with five minutes to play when CGB finished regulation on a 12-2 run. The Knights upped their defensive pressure in OT as three steals led to layups. They finished things off by knocking down their free throws down the stretch.
The Alexandria Blizzard hockey team dropped its only game of the weekend on Saturday night as Willmar came to town and left with a 4-3 shootout victory. Keegan Bauman, Riley Dixon, Jacob Berkowitz and Brandon Holt all scored for the Warhawks in the shootout, while Alexandria got goals from Brenden Payne, Peter Johnson and Austyn Renn. Alexandria outshot Willmar 47-22 but never held a lead. The Warhawks led 2-1 after one when Dixon and Jordan Cooper scored around a goal by Renn for Alexandria.
The Osakis wrestling team hosted its home dual tournament on Friday night and could not get a win but came away with some positive finishes. "Nate Kulzer, Gage Zieske, Colton Waldvogel, and Jaren Baker all went 3-0 on Friday night," head coach Joey Andreasen said. "Nate and Jaren both wrestled some of their best matches of the year and are hitting their stride at the midpoint of the season. As a team, we were not able to win a dual, but we are seeing progress every time we go out with our younger wrestlers."
Osakis boys basketball coach Matt Hoelscher has said at times this season that his team can fall in love with the three-point shot a little too much sometimes. On Saturday, that three-point shot loved them back. Osakis shot 64-percent from three (11-of-17) and 61 percent overall (26-42). That added up to an easy 74-46 win over Brandon-Evansville.
The Alexandria boys basketball team won its third straight game to up its record to 7-4 on Friday night in a 70-58 win at Brainerd. Alexandria shot 47 percent (24-51) and 8-of-17 from three. Trey Hoepner, Michael Kuhn and Justin Balcome all hit two of those triples. Balcome finished off a big game with 26 points, 13 rebounds and six assists. Hoepner added 18 points, five rebounds and three assists, while senior guard Jared Schneider had nine points. The Cardinals are now 4-2 in the Central Lakes Conference as they dropped the Warriors to 5-6 and 4-2 in the CLC.
The Osakis wrestling team fell behind early on Thursday and never could recover despite a late push in a 39-28 loss at Royalton-Upsala. The Royals (5-4) won five of their first six matches to build up a 27-3 lead. Gage Zieske ended that run with a major decision win (9-1) at 145 pounds. That started a nice stretch for Osakis.
The Alexandria swimming and diving team dominated Fergus Falls on Thursday by a 110-74 score after season-best times up and down the lineup. Things got going as they usually do with the 200-medley relay team of Zach Dummer, Nic Chromey, Nick Olson and Jordon Bass winning with ease. That went into an easy win for Patrick Chromey in the 200 freestyle as he won that by almost eight seconds. In the 200 IM, eighth grader Nick Welle took first. Nic Chromey did the same in the 50 freestyle.