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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Friday night’s game between the Melrose and Osakis boys basketball teams could be a playoff preview of a game that would take place next Saturday, though this one already felt like a tournament game. Fans from both teams packed the Osakis High School gymnasium for a battle of two teams with at least 20 wins. In the end, the Dutchmen showed why they are now 26-0 with a 68-50 win.
The Alexandria swimming and diving team has a lot of pride that developed for decades under former head coach Mark Storhaug. The Cardinals got used to being at their best by season's end in an attempt to prove themselves at the state meet. Their tradition includes back-to-back state titles in 1999 and 2000. A year ago, Alexandria finished with 70 points and in 11th place as a team. First-year head coach Kathy Walker made it clear from the get-go this season where this group should strive to get by the time Saturday's Class A finals are over.
The seconded-seeded Osakis girls basketball team made quick work of seventh-seeded Long Prairie-Grey Eagle on Thursday to set up another tournament clash with Albany on Saturday night. The Silverstreaks (24-3) had a 37-21 lead at the half and shot almost 53 percent (29-of-55) in the win over the Thunder (13-12).
BLIZZARD HOCKEY Alexandria at Rochester, 7:05 p.m. BOYS BASKETBALL Alexandria vs. Detroit Lakes, 7:30 p.m. Osakis vs. Melrose Area, 7:30 p.m. WCA at Parkers Prairie 7:30 p.m. WRESTLING Individual state tournament, St. Paul
The Alexandria boys basketball team had the Central Lakes Conference champions on the Cardinals’ home court on Thursday and couldn’t keep up in a 67-35 loss to St. Cloud Tech. The Tigers (21-5, 14-2 CLC), a Class 4A program, have won four straight after holding Alexandria (18-7, 10-6 CLC) to 28 percent shooting (13-of-46) on the night. The Cardinals shot just 1-of-15 from three-point range.
The opening round matchup between the four and five seeds in a subsection tournament is supposed to be close, but it didn’t look like this one would be halfway through the night in Brandon.
The West Central Area-Ashby-Brandon-Evansville wrestling team started off its day at the Class A team state tournament with a 30-29 win over Pipestone Area that came down to the last match. Unfortunately for the Knights, that momentum came to a halt as WCA-A-B-E finished fourth with a 35-21 loss to Pierz in the semifinals and a 40-18 loss to Frazee in the third-place match. Frazee could have phoned it in. The top-seeded Hornets had already lost in the semifinals at the Xcel Energy Center.
Pollinators have a friend in pheasants when it comes to getting habitat on the ground, with Pheasants Forever helping to make sure of that.
The West Central Area-Ashby-Brandon-Evansville wrestling team started off its day at the Class A team state tournament with a 30-29 win over Pipestone Area that came down to the last match. The Knights trailed 29-27 entering the heavyweight bout between junior Mason Nibbe and Pipestone junior Dylan Arndt. The winner of this one gave his team the win, and Nibbe got the job done in a 10-6 final.
BOYS BASKETBALL Alexandria vs. St. Cloud Tech, 7:30 p.m. Osakis at Upsala, 7:30 p.m. GIRLS BASKETBALL Osakis vs. LPGE, Section 6AA quarterfinals, 7 p.m. WCA at Parkers Prairie, 6A-South, 7 p.m. Brandon-Evansville vs. Ortonville, 6A-South, 7 p.m. WRESTLING