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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Not even a 46-point second half could save the Minnewaska boys basketball team against Melrose on Tuesday night. That's because the Dutchmen (10-1, 5-0 West Central Conference) put up 47 points of their own in the first half. Melrose has another good team this season after going 29-1 a year ago, and the Dutchmen dominated an 8-4 Lakers team through the first 18 minutes. They built up a 47-14 lead at the half, making Minnewaska's big second half a moot point when all was said and done.
The Alexandria Nordic ski teams competed among more than 50 programs in both the girls and boys varsity races on Saturday at the Mesabi East Invite in Biwabik as the Cardinals tested themselves against a loaded field. This meet is tabbed as the largest Nordic ski meet in North America with nearly 950 skiers among all the age levels. "The team posted fantastic results that have not been accomplished by the team in a very long time," Alexandria head coach Jeremy Rapp said.
The West Central Area-Ashby-Brandon-Evansville wrestling team had no trouble moving to 6-1 in duals on Tuesday night. The Knights dominated Border West in a 67-3 final. Anthony Sykora, Jordan Lohse, Kaleb Getz, Chris Onstad, Hunter Hanson, Hunter Mickelsen, Kaden Spindler and Aaron Holmes all had pins to lead that charge. The Buccaneers' only win came at 182 pounds where Jason Murphy won a 6-5 decision over Levi Larkin. WCA-A-B-E 67, BORDER WEST 3
The Osakis girls basketball team started to get a taste for winning for two games before heading to Melrose for a Section 6, Class AA competition. After digging themselves a hole early in the game against the Dutchmen, the Silverstreaks couldn’t recover. Melrose (6-7) took the win, 60-51.
It took a while for the Osakis boys basketball team to get going on Tuesday night, but the Silverstreaks eventually got a 59-46 win over Long Prairie-Grey Eagle. Osakis (6-4, 3-0 Prairie Conference) trailed by five at halftime. The Silverstreaks then dominated the second half, outscoring the Thunder (4-5, 1-2 Prairie) 37-19.
The Alexandria boys basketball team is coming off two straight wins heading into a matchup at Brainerd on Friday night after the Cardinals beat Sartell-St. Stephen and Little Falls last week. Alexandria disposed of the Sabres (1-10, 0-5 Central Lakes Conference) 73-60 on Jan. 4 before dismantling Little Falls (2-7) 63-21 a day later. "I felt we played with good energy on the defensive end, which resulted in forcing some turnovers and high percentage transition opportunities," Alexandria head coach Forrest Witt said.
The Brandon-Evansville girls basketball team snapped a two-game losing streak on Tuesday as the Chargers knocked off Ashby in a 53-38 game. Brandon-Evansville (6-5, 4-1 Little Eight Conference) led by just six at the half, but put up 33 points over the final 18 minutes to pull away. Sophomore guard Haddey Zastrow continues to have a nice season as she finished with a game-high 15 points by knocking down five threes. Junior guard Sara Jacobson was back after missing the last game with a sickness. She joined senior center Lauren Landowski with 13 points.
The outlook ahead of the 2017 South Dakota pheasant hunting season was a bleak one. Bird numbers were down 45 percent from 2016, according to the annual survey from the Game, Fish and Parks Department. Habitat loss and drought conditions during the nesting season, when chicks rely on insects and lush cover to survive, were blamed.
The West Central Area boys basketball team dug itself into a big hole in Ashby on Tuesday night, but eventually dug itself out. It was an 11-0 lead for the Arrows (2-6) before the Knights knew what hit them. With nearly six minutes left in the half, WCA found itself down by 13. Things picked up near the end of the half and right away after the break as WCA came all the way back to win a 50-43 game.
The Alexandria gymnastics team went to the Park Rapids Invite on Saturday and came back with a first-place finish. The Cardinals totaled 135.35 points, well in front of second-place Long Prairie (128.900). Park Rapids had 111.850 in third place and Morris rounded out the field in fourth with 110.75. “The team started off the meet with a solid beam rotation and kept it going strong as the competition continued,” assistant coach Nichole Boyden said.