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 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.
The Brandon-Evansville boys basketball team went more than a month and a half into the season without running together a winning streak of more than two games. Now the Chargers have put together four straight wins after a 63-54 victory over Wheaton-Herman-Norcross. Brandon-Evansville 11-6) downed the Warriors (2-13) on Monday night after dominating the first half on the way to a 43-19 lead at the break. "I thought we played a great first half of basketball," B-E head coach Trent Hintermeister said. "Our defense contested shots and rebounded well."
The Alexandria boys basketball team had its offense working last Friday night as the Cardinals shot 58 percent on the way to a 71-60 win over Rocori (6-14). The Cardinals (10-6, 6-4 Central Lakes Conference) were especially efficient from inside the arc where they shot 21-of-28. Senior forward Justin Balcome continues to put up some big numbers as he finished with 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Balcome added seven rebounds, five steals, four assists and three blocks.
BOYS BASKETBALL Alexandria vs. St. Cloud Apollo, 7:15 p.m. Brandon-Evansville vs. WHN, 7:30 p.m. Osakis vs. Holdingford, 7:30 p.m. WCA vs. Underwood, 7:30 p.m. Minnewaska vs. Sauk Centre, 7:30 p.m. GIRLS BASKETBALL Alexandria at St. Cloud Apollo, 7:15 p.m.
The Long Prairie-Grey Eagle wrestling team won a tight dual with West Central Area-Ashby-Brandon-Evansville early this season. On Saturday, the Wolves again edged the Knights, this time for a Park Region Conference team championship. LPGE-Browerville scored 191.5 points to WCA-A-B-E's 182. Ottertail Central rounded out the top three with 174, and Osakis finished eighth with 65 points.
The Alexandria Blizzard's dominance of Rochester continued this weekend after an 11-0 win over the Ice Hawks (6-31) on Friday night. The Blizzard has now outscored Rochester 33-3 in three straight wins. Alexandria outshot Rochester 58-15 and scored six goals in the second period to blow things open. Brett Meister led the way with four goals and an assist. Logan Nelson had two goals and two helpers. Dylan Giorgio added three points on two goals and one assist and Brenden Payne, Elias Thompson and Josiah Roen all had goals, as well.
Gunnar Sterne is coming off a 2017 season that saw him win the $15,000 payday as the season’s TLR Cup Tour champion. Included in that run was a win in Alexandria last winter during the Champ 440 final. Now the 24-year-old from West Chicago, IL can add another victory at the Viking Speedway to his name. Alexandria in one of 10 stops for the professional snowmobilers on the TLR Cup schedule this season, and Sterne has reason to like coming here after taking home another $2,018 check.
A match-up of two top-five teams in Class A met up at the Runestone Community Center in Alexandria on Saturday afternoon as the Breck girls hockey team ended the Cardinals' 10-game winning streak. The Mustangs (14-9-1) are ranked second in the Let's Play Hockey polls, while Alexandria (18-7) is third. Both teams played about even in shots as the Cardinals put 27 on net to the Mustangs' 24. Breck made the most of those chances to secure a 3-1 win in the regular-season finale for Alexandria.