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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A lot can change in hockey from one game to the next. Five days after the Alexandria boys steamrolled Willmar 12-0, the Cardinals found themselves searching to even find a goal against St. Cloud Apollo. The Eagles came into the Runestone Community Center with a 4-3 record and needed just two second-period goals to leave with a 2-0 win on Tuesday night. "It's been so good to this point that you just kind of expected that we'd show up," head coach Scott Woods said. "Even in the first when we didn't look that great, we still put up some shots. It just got worse from there. We just struggled.
The Cardinal boys' basketball team proved that even when shots aren't falling, a team can still find a way by doing the little things right. Alexandria shot just 1-of-12 from three-point range and 36 percent overall against a 3-0 Little Falls team on Tuesday night. That didn't matter in the end as the Cardinals held on for a 46-43 win that snapped a three-game losing streak. They did it by outrebounding the Flyers 30-19 and hitting 19 free throws. Alexandria also played well on defense as Little Falls finished 14-of-41 from the field, including a 4-of-18 night from three.
The Brandon-Evansville boys' basketball team has made obvious strides since the beginning of the season, but it wasn't enough to hold off a talented Ashby team on Tuesday night. The Arrows built a 15-point lead at the break and held on for a 65-54 win, despite the best efforts of the Chargers' John Haseman. The senior forward scored 18 of his game-high 27 points in the second half before a Brandon-Evansville rally came up short. "I thought we played a really good game defensively the first half, especially containing John," Ashby head coach Jeremy Knick said.
The Brandon-Evansville girls hit eight threes on their way to a 58-47 win over Rothsay on Tuesday night. Carlie Steffenson had four of those triples on her way to a team-high 14 points. Megan Friedrich matched that point total and added seven rebounds. Emma Friedrich finished with a double-double of 10 points and 10 boards as Brandon-Evansville won its second game in a row after starting the season 0-5. Those triples helped the Chargers overcome a night where they shot 36 percent overall (20-56).
The Alexandria boys' basketball team showed what it can do when shots are falling through one half last Friday night. The Cardinals overcame a slow start to take a 25-21 lead into the break over a 3-1 New Prague team. Junior guard Brandon Bistodeau hit two threes during that stretch and Chase Kohler added another as Alexandria got good looks out of its half-court offense. Those same looks didn't fall after halftime. The Cardinals were held to 22 points through the final 18 minutes, and New Prague used an 8-0 run out of the locker room to take a lead it wouldn't relinquish.
The Alexandria boys' hockey team played its most dominant game of the early season in a 12-0 win over Willmar at the Runestone Community Center last Thursday. The last time these two teams met, Willmar stunned Alexandria by coming back for a 4-3 win in the opening round of the Section 6A playoffs. There would be no such drama on this night as the home Cardinals scored four goals in the first period and added five in the second to move to 2-0-1 in conference play. "It was a dominating performance right from the drop of the puck," head coach Scott Woods said.
Osakis girls' basketball coach Pat Kalpin watched his team struggle through a 7-19 season three years ago and felt what this group needed more than anything was pretty simple: patience. That's what he preached to them as they took their lumps as underclassmen playing at the varsity level. That's what kept them in the gym despite a two-year stretch where the Silverstreaks went 19-35. Now six games into a perfect start to the season, that same group of athletes is starting to see the fruits of their labor. "They've grown a lot," Kalpin said. "Look at them. Two years ago, we were 12-16.
The Brandon-Evansville boys' basketball team made it two straight wins after persevering in a 54-48 game against Underwood last Thursday night. The Chargers led by nine at the break and built that lead to double digits in the second half. That's when the Rockets went to a press that rattled Brandon-Evansville into a flurry of turnovers that allowed Underwood back in the game. The Rockets were able to take a one-point lead before the Chargers' Blake Satterlie hit a shot that gave his team the lead back.
The Brandon-Evansville girls' basketball team got its first win of the season in a 47-34 game against Ashby last Friday night. The Chargers shot just 14-of-43 but won the game at the free throw line, where they went 14-of-16. They also outrebounded the Arrows 43-25 on a night when Emma Friedrich and Megan Kokett each grabbed 10 boards. "We made free throws, especially down the stretch," head coach Dick Simpson said. "We played good half-court defense, rebounded well and shot free throws well. Those were the keys.
Alexandria's Kris Aaseng made it look easy in the Cardinal swim team's season opener on Tuesday night. The senior distance swimmer already owns the school record and is an all-state performer in the 500 freestyle. He looked poised to reach those kind of heights again this winter as he blew past the field on his way to two of Alexandria's four wins in a 108-75 loss to Brainerd. Aaseng left no doubt in the 500 freestyle as he finished more than 11 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Peder Smith of Brainerd.