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 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.
The Brandon-Evansville girls basketball team fell behind early and could never recover in a 71-50 loss against Underwood on Monday night. The Rockets (15-5, 9-1 Little Eight Conference) showed why they are one of the top teams in the LEC this season by building a 43-23 lead by the break. The Chargers (9-11, 7-3 LEC) almost kept even in the final 18 minutes, but it was too little, too late.
Alexandria girls basketball coach Wendy Kohler said that her team would come away from two losses at the Cardinals' holiday tournament a better team for having played a couple of tough Class AAAA opponents. Since then, Alexandria (17-3) has rattled off 11 straight wins. The latest was a 56-45 win over St. Cloud Apollo on Monday night that solidified the Cardinals lead in the Central Lakes Conference. Alexandria is now 11-1 in league play, three games up in the win column over Willmar, Sartell-St. Stephen and Fergus Falls.