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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Tickets for a fan bus to the girls state basketball tournament are on sale at the Alexandria Area High School activities office through Tuesday at noon. The cost is $15 per seat on a coach bus that will leave AAHS at 4 p.m. on Tuesday and return immediately after the game. Elementary students who ride the bus must be accompanied by a parent. The Alexandria girls (25-4) won the Section 8AAA title last Thursday and will play Grand Rapids (23-5) on Tuesday night at 8 at the Target Center.
Advance tickets for the Section 8AAA boys basketball championship game at St. Cloud State University on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. are on sale at the Alexandria Area High School activities office on Tuesday and Wednesday. Cost is $9 per ticket with a limited number of seats available for the lower level tickets. The activities office is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The West Central Area boys basketball team had its season come to an end last Thursday night as Battle Lake handled business on its home court in the 6A South playoffs. The Battlers (20-5) shot 51 percent (24-47) and knocked down 11-of-13 for an efficient 62-44 win that moved them onto a subsection semifinal matchup with Parkers Prairie at 2:45 Saturday afternoon at the University of Minnesota-Morris.
A game that never allowed fans to catch their breath saw Alexandria put up 51 second-half points in the 8AAA semifinals on Saturday night at Moorhead High School. Third-seeded Bemidji led by six points shortly after halftime, but the Cardinals’ depth was too much in the end of an 84-74 win. It sets up a rematch of last year’s 8AAA title game with top-seeded Fergus Falls on Thursday at St. Cloud State University. The time of that game wasn’t yet determined as of Saturday night.
To say the sport of curling has changed John Landsteiner's life would be an understatement. It's taken the Mapleton native all over the world, including to the 2014 winter Olympic games in Sochi, Russia where he was part of a ninth-place finish. It's even how he met his wife. "We met at college club nationals," Kelsey Landsteiner said from Alexandria on March 4. "That was usually in Chicago. That year, in 2013, they decided to do it in Duluth. Our teams ended up playing each other, and it took off from there."
Basketball fans gathered on the court at Alexandria Area High School as players celebrated with their family and friends after the Cardinals beat Thief River Falls on Tuesday night. Wins this time of year are worth celebrating when the alternative is a season that ends so abruptly. It isn't long, though, before the focus of players and coaches start to shift toward another win-or-go-home game on the horizon. For Alexandria, that means Bemidji on Saturday night.
The Alexandria girls basketball team had experienced back-to-back heartbreak in the Section 8-3A title game the last two years. The Cardinals weren’t going to let that happen again. Alexandria, led by 11 seniors, dominated defensively on Thursday at St. Cloud State University to beat Sartell-St. Stephen 44-26 in a game that the Sabres never led.
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.