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 Osakis boys basketball team dropped its second straight game on Tuesday night, and it came in another nail-biter. The Silverstreaks' (5-2) first loss came by four against Sauk Centre on Dec. 22. In their first game back from the holiday break, Osakis took Minnewaska to double overtime before falling 71-70 on the road. "We had chances to win it in regulation and both overtimes," Osakis head coach Matt Hoelscher said. "It was good for our kids to experience the end-of-game-situations, but my heart breaks for them because of the way we lost."
The West Central Area boys basketball team got above the .500 mark on Tuesday with its second win over Underwood in a week. The Knights (4-3) knocked off the Rockets (2-7) 48-36 at the Pelican Rapids Tournament on Dec. 28 and won by a similar margin on the road on Tuesday. Underwood hit seven threes but couldn't come all the way back as WCA won the contest 62-53.
Hunting and fishing trips are about making memories and snapping a lasting photo is a big part of that for many. The Echo Press asked readers to send in some of their best memories from this past hunting and fishing season for the annual Hunt Down Your Photos contest. Images were submitted and dwindled down to a final four through a voting process.
Fans of both the Alexandria and Fergus Falls boys basketball teams are likely asking for three matchups between these two programs again this season. The two teams provided a thriller in last year’s Section 8-3A title game where the Otters stormed back from down 10 with almost three minutes left to win 63-30. They rallied again on Tuesday, fighting back from 13 down in the second half. This time, 10th-ranked Alexandria answered as the Cardinals (5-1) edged sixth-ranked Fergus Falls (7-2) 69-66 on their home court.
BOYS BASKETBALL Alexandria vs. Fergus Falls, 7:30 p.m. Minnewaska vs. Osakis, 7:30 p.m. Brandon-Evansville vs. Henning, 7:30 p.m. WCA at Underwood, 7:30 p.m. Ashby vs. Pelican Rapids, 7 p.m. GIRLS BASKETBALL Osakis vs. Brandon-Evansville, 7:30 p.m. WCA at Ortonville, 7:30 p.m. Minnewaska at ACGC, 7:30 p.m.
The Alexandria Blizzard couldn’t capitalize on opportunities on Saturday night after outshooting the Willmar Warhawks 53-20 but still falling 4-2 at the Runestone Community Center. Willmar (13-10-1) led 4-1 after Jordan Cooper’s third-period goal at 12:12. Logan Norman got that goal back for Alexandria, but it was too little, too late for the Blizzard (17-10). Connor Nilson had Alexandria’s first goal as it tied the game at one apiece in the first period.
A battle of two Class 3A teams ranked in the top 10 of the Minnesota Basketball News polls went to Marshall on Friday night as the Tigers, ranked fifth, beat 10th-ranked Alexandria at Southwest Minnesota State University. Marshall (7-1) used a fast eight points from Weston Baker-Magrath and three separate runs to build a 32-16 lead by the half. The Cardinals (4-1) got it down to seven after the break, but the Tigers shot 57 percent to secure the win.
The Alexandria Blizzard jumped back into its schedule on Friday night by hosting division rival Granite City in a game that saw the Lumberjacks score three in the third for a 6-4 win. Will Mix scored the go-ahead goal at 17:43 of the third to make it 5-4 Granite City. Keenan Lund put the finishing touches on things with an empty netter with 46 seconds to play.
The Alexandria boys hockey team got the boost it was looking for in three straight games up north as the Cardinals halted a six-game winless streak with wins in Coleraine, Virginia and Hibbing between Christmas and New Year’s. The last of those came exactly like the first as Alexandria won a 5-4 overtime game, this time against Hibbing-Chisholm (6-4) on Thursday. The Cardinals (5-3-3) started the week by beating Greenway-Nash-Kee (9-2-1) 5-4 in overtime on Dec. 27 after trailing 4-2 in the third.
The West Central Area boys basketball team won the Pelican Rapids Holiday Tournament on Thursday by knocking off Warroad 52-47 in overtime. The Knights (3-3) have lost two games that came down to the final possession this season and it was their turn to win a close one against the Warriors (4-4). West Central Area used some timely stops in overtime and six straight free throws from Brady Sabolik to seal the game. Warroad senior Tommy Vilayphone had tied the game at 44 apiece at the end of regulation by hitting a shot with two seconds left.