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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BOYS BASKETBALL Osakis vs. Albany, 6AA playoffs, 7 p.m. B-E at Hancock, 6A South playoffs, 7 p.m. Parkers Prairie vs. BBE, 6A South playoffs, 7 p.m. WCA at Battle Lake, 6A South playoffs, 7 p.m. GIRLS BASKETBALL Alexandria vs. Sartell, Section 8-3A Finals, 7 p.m. at SCSU
Alexandria’s Justin Balcome broke to the right side of the lane as senior guard Spencer Hockert led a 2-on-1 break midway through the first half of the Section 8-3A opener on Tuesday night. Hockert dished it off right before getting to the bucket as the 6-foot, 8-inch Balcome caught it in stride and threw down a one-handed dunk.
BOYS BASKETBALL Alexandria vs. Thief River Falls, Section 8-3A QF, 7 p.m. GIRLS BASKETBALL Parkers Prairie vs. WHN, 6A South Finals at U of M-Morris, 7 p.m.
West Central Area-Ashby-Brandon-Evansville coach Brandon Gruchow was named Minnesota Class-A Wrestling Coach of the Year this past weekend. Gruchow has guided the Knights to three straight team state tournaments. They finished this regular season with a 24-1 record, took fourth at state as a team, and had nine wrestlers compete at state as individuals.
BOYS BASKETBALL Ashby at CGB, 6A South playoffs, 7 p.m. WCA vs. WHN, 6A South playoffs, 7 p.m.
The Parkers Prairie boys basketball team handed West Central Area its eighth straight loss on Friday night as the Panthers (19-7) beat the Knights (10-14) 66-61. West Central Area held a 47-46 lead in the second half after an Aaron Wiese three, but the Panthers responded with a three of their own and never trailed again.
Brandon-Evansville girls basketball coach Dick Simpson has been on the sidelines for 38 years. He's racked up more than 600 wins during that stretch, but he's also seen some tough losses. Saturday's Section 6A South semifinal game fell into that category. Simpson didn't sleep much on Saturday night as he replayed the game in his head after the Chargers came just one point shy of knocking off third-ranked and now 28-0 Wheaton-Herman-Norcross. Brandon-Evansville held an 11-point lead at the half in Morris, but the Warriors pulled out a 42-41 win in the end.
The Brandon-Evansville boys basketball team shot just 17 percent on Friday night as the Chargers dropped their regular-season finale 59-31 against Hancock. Brandon-Evansville was 10-of-58 from the floor, including 2-of-20 from three. "We thought they were pretty good looks," head coach John Holsten said. "We just didn't make them. It was a strange game. We outrebounded them 42-22."
The Brandon-Evansville girls basketball team lost a heartbreaker on Saturday afternoon at the University of Minnesota-Morris in the 6A-South semifinals. The Chargers (19-9) gave top-seeded and undefeated Wheaton-Herman-Norcross the biggest scare of its season by building an 11-point lead by the break. The Warriors (28-0) chipped away, though, taking a one-point lead in the final minute and holding on for the 42-41 win. Senior guard Carrigan Okerlund led B-E with 12 points in her final game in a Chargers uniform.
The Osakis girls basketball team ended Albany’s season in the 6AA-West semifinals at St. John’s University last year. On Saturday, the Huskies got their revenge.