Basketball roundup: Brainerd's buzzer-beater sinks Alex boys; WCA boys top Montevideo

The Alexandria boys and Osakis girls lost on Thursday on last-second scores, while the WCA boys and B-E girls picked up close wins and the Osakis boys ran into a tough Eden Valley-Watkins team.

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Alexandria's Bralyn Steffensmeier goes up for a layup during Alexandria's game at Brainerd on Jan. 26, 2023. Brainerd won 75-72 in overtime.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

The Alexandria boys basketball team had its 10-game-winning streak snapped on Thursday by Brainerd, who earned a 75-72 win in overtime after a game-winning buzzer-beating three-pointer by Eli Hoelz on Thursday.

Hoelz had 16 points for Brainerd (10-3, 7-0 Central Lakes Conference), while John Pecarich had a game-high 28 points.

Alexandria (10-2, 6-1 CLC) was led in scoring by Grayson Grove with 24 points and Chase Thompson with 23 points.

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Alexandria's Grayson Grove dunks the ball to score two of his 24 points in Alexandria's 75-72 to Brainerd in overtime on Jan. 26, 2023.
Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Bralyn Steffensmeier had seven points in the game for Alexandria, while Trevin Hoepner and Jaxon Schoenrock had six, and Jacob Balcome added three points.

Alexandria shot 29-of-58 from the field (5-of-16 from three) and made 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Brained made 28-of-62 from the field (11-of-24 from three) and made 8-of-9 free throws.


The Cardinals led 40-31 at halftime and by as much as 14, but the Warriors made the comeback to tie it at 70 heading into overtime and won the game.

Alexandria returns home to host Sauk Rapids-Rice (7-7, 3-3 CLC) on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m.

WCA boys edge out Montevideo

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WCA's Jake Strunk makes a steal during the first half of the team's 77-44 win on Jan. 16, 2023, over B-E. WCA held B-E scoreless for the first seven minutes of the game. Strunk played a big role in WCA's win over Montevideo on Jan. 26, 2023.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

For the second time this season, the West Central Area boys earned a win over the Montevideo Thunderhawks as WCA earned a 55-46 win on its home floor on Thursday.

The Knights had a win earlier in the season on Jan. 12 (57-56). The Knights are now 12-4 (7-2 West Central Conference) on the season.

"This conference is a battle every night,” WCA head coach Kraig Hunter said. “This was another very intense game against a Montevideo team that just beat Morris and won three straight. I thought our defense was as good as it's been the last few games. We also converted and finished well inside on offense."

The Knights led 29-20 at halftime, and the Thunderhawks (7-8, 3-5 WCC) cut the deficit to four, but the Knights were able to put the finishing touches on the game despite being a bit shorthanded.

“We were without Nas Dotts and Isaac Kreft,” Hunter said. “Mitch Dewey and Sam Hanson had extra duties taking over the point guard position and handled it well. I thought Jacob Strunk had his best rebounding night of the year."

Strunk finished with four points, three assists, a team-high five steals, and a team-high 10 rebounds.


Bryce Kjsebo had a team-high 18 points for the Knights while finishing with six rebounds, three assists, and two steals.

Kjesbo helped the Knights have a 36-29 edge on the glass.

“We knew rebounding was going to be a key,” Hunter said. “Last time, they got 16 offensive boards against us. Tonight we did a good job of securing and chinning the basketball."

WCA shot 21-of-49 from the field and made five out of six free throws. Montevideo shot just 16-of-46 from the field and 11-of-20 from the free throw line.

Cole Anderson had 14 points, six rebounds, six assists, and two steals for WCA, while Ben Bye had 10 points, six rebounds, and two assists. Dewey had seven points and three steals, while Damon Sanstead added two points, and Hanson had three rebounds and one assist.

WCA has a busy slate from Feb. 2 to Feb. 4, which starts with a tilt at Staples-Motley on Thursday, Feb. 2 at 7:15 p.m.

B-E girls outlast Browerville-Eagle Valley

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B-E junior Kylee Dingwall attacks the lane during the team's game against WHN on Jan. 10, 2023. Dingwall had 11 points in the team's 81-51 on Jan. 10, 2023. Dingwall had 13 points in the team's 54-47 win over Browerville-Eagle Valley on Jan. 26, 2023.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

The Brandon-Evansville girls edged out a 54-47 win over Browerville-Eagle Valley on Thursday behind a balanced offensive attack.

Kylee Dingwall and Haddy Baune each had 13 points for the Chargers, while Maddy Anderson had 11 and Sydney Schaefer added 10.


“Our girls played really tough,” B-E head coach Steve Schreiber said. "We battled back and forth and found a groove in the second half. I’m really proud of all the growth we've made as this season has progressed. Our JV team won big as well, bringing their record to 13-2.”

Ava Santjer had three points on the night, while Grace Otto and Skylar Bitzan had two points each.

B-E (4-10) led 28-24 at halftime over B-EV (9-7) and outscore B-EV 26-23 in the second half.

The Chargers host Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley at 7:15 p.m. on Monday.

Game-winning free throw lifts MACA over Osakis girls

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Osakis' Taylor Dirkes shoots a three-pointer during the team's 57-41 win over LPGE on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. Dirkes, a sophomore, led the team in scoring with 19 points. Dirkes had 19 points in Osakis 40-39 loss to MACA on Jan. 26, 2023.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

After a made free throw by Madeline Anderson to tie the game with 10 seconds left, Osakis was called for a foul as time expired and Morris Area/Chokio-Alberta had the chance to sink a free throw to seal the win.

MACA made the free throw and won 40-39 to improve to 4-11, while Osakis now sits at 7-7.

"This was a good competitive game for both teams,” Osakis head coach Pat Kalpin said. “Outside of us falling behind early in the game by eight, neither team led by more than five points throughout the game.”

Before Anderson’s made free throw, Osakis trailed by four with less than 50 seconds left, but Taylor Dirkes knocked down a three-pointer to cut Osakis' deficit to one.


MACA had a seven-point edge in second chance points in the game.

“We were off balance for a bit offensively but settled down to taking some good shots,” Kalpin said. “Defensively, we did a nice job of taking away some of their strengths and just working hard in that first half as well. In the second half, we came out and hit a couple of shots early to take a 3-point lead, but from there, it was back and forth pretty much the rest of the way. We had opportunities throughout the game, especially the second half, to build on a lead; unfortunately, shots didn't fall for us.”

Dirkes led the Silverstreaks in scoring with 19, while Anderson had nine.

Osakis hosts Staples-Motley on Tuesday at 7:15 p.m.

MACA - 19 21 - 40

Osakis - 16 23 - 39

OSAKIS TEAM STATS - FG - 14-45; 3-PT - 5-17; FT - 6-11; Rebounds - 22; Assists - 9; Deflections - 21; Steals; 6; Blocks - 1; Turnovers - 13; Fouls - 14

OSAKIS PLAYER STATS - Hailey Walker - 1 rebound, 1 deflection; Madeline Anderson - 9 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 deflections, 2 steals; Taylor Dirkes - 19 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 7 deflections, 3 steals; Bella Weisser - 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 deflections, 1 steal, 1 block; Carlee Muenzhuber - 4 points, 5 assists, 4 deflections; Kiley Kranz - 2 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 deflections; Maggie Dirkes - 5 points, 1 rebound


Eden Valley-Watkins hands Osakis boys its third loss

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Osakis senior Stewart Jones glides in for a layup to score 2 of his 24 points in Osakis' 43-40 win over Annandale on Dec. 29, 2022. Jones had 12 points in Osakis' loss to Eden Valley-Watkins on Jan. 26, 2023.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

Eden Valley-Watkins dropped Osakis to 10-3 on the season with an 81-57 win on Osakis’ home floor.

“We ran into a tough team, they really well, which forced us to guard the three-point line, and then we got exposed in the post,” Osakis head coach Matt Hoelscher said.

Stewart Jones had a team-high 12 points for Osakis, while Grant Mages had 11 points.

“Grant Mages did an excellent job on Noah Stommes and played really physical,” Hoelscher said. “We were able to help him early on, but when we got tired. We looked tired and offensively, we had good looks, but they weren't falling. Credit them for making us play out of rhythm.”

Osakis (10-3, 2-0 Section 6AA) plays at Albany (12-1, 5-0 Section 6AA) on Friday at 7:15 p.m.

“We have to put it behind us as we go into Albany and play one of the best teams in the state,” Hoelscher said.

EVW - 42 39 - 81

Osakis - 31 26 - 57


OSAKIS TEAM STATS - FG - 25-55; 3-PT - 4-21; FT - 3-4; Assists - 10; Blocks - 5; Rebounds - 11; Steals - 8; Deflections - 6; Fouls - 15; Turnovers - 8

OSAKIS PLAYER STATS - Stewart Jones - 12 points, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 4 deflections; Grant Mages - 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 deflections; Ben Berger - 1 assist; Seth Staloch - 2 points, 1 block, 3 rebounds; Isaac Maddock - 8 points, 1 assist, 1 rebound, 1 steal; Drew Imdieke - 5 points, 4 assists, 1 rebound; Marcus Wolf - 2 points, Mekai Hoelscher - 7 points, 1 assist, 1 rebound, 3 steals

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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