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 basketball team shows no signs of slowing down in the Central Lakes Conference. The Cardinals (10-2, 6-0) dominated another team in league play on Thursday as Sauk Rapids-Rice (6-5, 3-3) proved no match in a 66-31 final.
BOYS BASKETBALL Alexandria vs. Albany, 7:30 p.m. Osakis at St. John’s Prep, 7:30 p.m. Minnewaska vs. LPGE, 6 p.m. GIRLS BASKETBALL Osakis at Barnesville, 7:30 p.m. Ashby at Battle Lake, 7:15 p.m. DANCE Alexandria at Willmar, 6:30 p.m. GIRLS HOCKEY
The Alexandria wrestling team had trailed most of the night against Rocori before a forfeit win for eighth-ranked Quintin Kluver-Longfellow at 220 pounds made it a 29-28 Cardinals’ lead. That set the stage for sophomore heavyweight Deryk Neu, who wasn’t about to let an opportunity to secure the win slip away. His 11-2 major decision over junior Dylan Shafer wrapped up Alexandria’s first victory in the Central Lakes Conference in a 33-28 final on Thursday.
BOYS BASKETBALL Brandon-Evansville vs. Parkers Prairie, 7:15 p.m. Minnewaska vs. Sauk Centre, 6 p.m. Ashby at Hillcrest Lutheran, 7:15 p.m. WCA vs. Ortonville, 7:30 p.m. GIRLS BASKETBALL Alexandria at Sauk Rapids-Rice, 7:30 p.m. Osakis at Swanville, 7:30 p.m. Parkers Prairie at Underwood, 7:15 p.m.
The Alexandria wrestling team finished seventh out of eight teams at the Bluejacket Invite hosted by Cambridge-Isanti this past Saturday. The Cardinals finished with 87.5 points. St. Francis won the invite with 226 points, while Cambridge-Isanti rounded out the top three with 197.5. Ben Bogart paced Alexandria with a first-place finish at 132 pounds. He knocked off Leo Wilczek of Little Falls in an 8-0 major decision in the title match. Quintin Kluver-Longfellow had the Cardinals' next highest finish by taking third at 220 pounds after a pin in 2:05 in his final match.
The Parkers Prairie girls basketball team cruised to 8-1 on Monday night as the Panthers stymied another team defensively in a 71-34 victory at Browerville-Eagle Valley. The Panthers have held seven of their nine opponents to less than 40 points for a Little Eight Conference-best 32.7 opponent points per game average. They were at it again on Monday as the Tigers (3-9) scored just 11 second-half points. That allowed Parkers Prairie to run away with the win.
The Alexandria Nordic ski teams were in Detroit Lakes for a late morning invitational before schools started closing down in the afternoon on Tuesday. The eight teams skied through the wind and cold as the Alexandria boys took fourth with 321 points, and the Alexandria girls were second with 370. Little Falls won that girls meet with 376 points, while Brainerd took the boys with 388 points.
Each hunting season is filled with lessons. Oftentimes, the lesson is that we don't always know what we think we know. We read all about how to take the biggest buck each year to the point where we believe the deer on our property should follow the script. Hunt funnels and pinch points during rut, food sources post-rut. For late-season pheasants, focus on thick cover like cattail sloughs. That's often good advice, but deer and pheasants don't always follow the rules. I was reminded of that on the final pheasant hunt of the 2016 season.
BOYS BASKETBALL Alexandria at Rocori, 7:30 p.m. Osakis at Holdingford Brandon Evansville at CGB, 7:30 p.m. Parkers Prairie vs. BBE, 7:30 p.m. Minnewaska at BOLD, 6 p.m. GIRLS BASKETBALL Alexandria at Willmar, 7:30 p.m. Osakis vs. Melrose Area, 7:30 p.m. Brandon-Evansville vs. Underwood, 7:15 p.m.
Landowners in Minnesota now have expanded opportunities to voluntarily enroll property in a popular Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) practice after the first of the year. Thanks to a new allocation of CRP acres by the USDA's Farm Service Agency, the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) practice — Back Forty Pheasant Habitat — now has 50,000 acres available for enrollment to landowners interested in creating and conserving upland habitat for pheasants, quail and other grassland wildlife.