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 ran into the top team in its section right now as Hancock continued its torrid season with a 71-48 win over the Chargers on Thursday. The Owls are 17-1 and have entered into the Class A state rankings from Minnesota Basketball News at No. 9 in the Feb. 7 polls. They are led by one of the top players in Minnesota in senior guard Noah Kannegeisser, who finished with a game-high 40 points.
The Alexandria wrestling team went to Rocori on Thursday night to wrap up the regular season and came back with a couple of losses to section opponents. Rocori and the Cardinals were evenly matched most of the night before the Spartans grabbed a 33-32 win. Alexandria got wins from Ryan Borris (106), Adam Kremer (113) and Jeris Lemm (120) to start the match against St. Cloud Tech. The Tigers responded with 10 straight wins to secure a 54-15 victory.
The Alexandria girls hockey team found out its fate for the Section 6, Class A playoffs on Monday afternoon, but at that point things seemed to be a foregone conclusion in terms of seeding.
The Alexandria boys hockey team had been playing well even before Thursday's big match-up with Sartell-St. Stephen. The Cardinals (14-9-1) were already 9-2 since Jan. 11, but this was a chance to show they could play with one of the top teams in the section. The Sabres are 16-7, ranked second in the Section 6, Class A QRF through Minnesota-scores.com right now. The Cardinals had them on their home ice and didn’t disappoint the Alexandria fans in a 3-2 overtime victory.
GIRLS BASKETBALL Brandon-Evansville at Ashby, 7:15 p.m. Osakis vs. LPGE, 7:30 p.m. WCA at Ortonville, 6 p.m. Parkers Prairie vs. Underwood, 7:15 p.m. BOYS BASKETBALL Brandon-Evansville at Hancock, 7:30 p.m. BOYS HOCKEY Alexandria vs. Sartell, 7:15 p.m.
Alexandria Area High School will once against host the Breakdown Winter Lakes Classic on Saturday with a full slate of games taking place on the Cardinals' home court. This year's event features two undefeated teams and just one of the 14 teams involved being under the .500 mark. Many of these programs will be in the hunt for a section championship later this season. The Alexandria boys (11-6) and girls will wrap up the day with games on Saturday night. The Alexandria girls host Becker (11-9) at approximately 6:30 before the boys take on Becker (7-11) at 8.
Football players and coaches who build winning programs often talk about the culture within those teams as being like that of a family. Members of the Alexandria program referenced that often in recent years. On Wednesday, three of the seniors from the 2017 team came together in front of their family and friends to sign their letter of intent as they committed to play football at the college level starting this fall. "I wouldn't want to do this alone," Michael Empting said. "It's a lot more fun (signing) with other guys."
The Alexandria boys Nordic ski team went into the Section 8, Class A meet at Maplelag in Detroit Lakes on Tuesday hoping to qualify a couple athletes for state. That did not quite happen as the Cardinals finished sixth as a team with 310 points. St. Cloud Cathedral-Sartell was first at 386. Little Falls was second (375) and Brainerd rounded out the top three with 349 points.
The last time the Alexandria girls Nordic ski program made the state meet as a team came in 2001. Many of the girls on the current roster weren’t even born at that time. Now they are a part of a little history for the Cardinals.
I pulled up near the Bemo Building at the Douglas County Fairgrounds on Jan. 31 at about 7:45 p.m. and noticed what looked to be a pretty good crowd already there. That was a good sign. Dean Krebs has been on the pages of the Outdoor section in the Echo Press a number of times. He is a great local source as the president of the Douglas County Pheasants Forever chapter and just an all-around active member of the community when it comes to almost anything outdoors related.