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Girls basketball: Alexandria controls all facets of the game to beat the St. Cloud Crush

Alexandria took a 10-0 lead early and never looked back in its 38-point win over the St. Cloud Crush on Dec. 9, 2022. Alexandria moved to 1-0 at home with the win.

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Alexandria's McKinley Hoelscher (45) applies full-court pressure on Abby Brown of the St. Cloud Crush (15) in the first half of Alexandria's 75-37 win on Dec. 9, 2022.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press
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ALEXANDRIA - The Alexandria girls basketball team lost both of its games to the St. Cloud Crush (a St. Cloud Apollo and St. Cloud Tech co-op for six sports) in the 2021-22 season. But in their first meeting of the 2022-23 season, things were vastly different as Alexandria cruised to a 75-37 victory in what was its first home game of the season.

“We knew that we just had to come out strong,” senior Morgan Seesz said. “No matter what that meant, whether it was rebounding scoring defense, we just knew we had to come out strong and push each other to get a good enough lead to where we can kind of settle back a little bit.”

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Alexandria's Hadley Thul puts up a baseline jumper during a game against the St. Cloud Crush on Dec. 9, 2022. Thul had a game-high 20 points in the Cardinals' 75-37 win.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

The Cardinals started off strong on Friday, and they never looked back as they started the game on a 10-0 run and led 46-20 at halftime. The Cardinals outscored the Crush 29-17 in the second half.

This is Alexandria’s second large-margin win of the week as it beat Willmar 64-36 on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

Friday’s 38-point win is the largest the Cardinals have had since an 84-20 win over St. Cloud Apollo on Feb. 26, 2021.

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“We want to play with intense energy and we’re all so hard-working,” Seesz said. “We all have common goals, so just staying aligned with our goals and with our energies is huge for us this season.”

11 different Cardinals contributed in the scoring column, led by Hadley Thul with 20 points.

“I feel like on any given night, anybody can have their night, whether it's points or defensive stops,” Seesz said. “I think we played well as a team in this one, and we were looking for each other. I think that we were looking for great scoring opportunities and just giving up an open shot for an even better shot.”

Along with Thul’s game-high 20 points, Allie Haabala added 11, MaCee Linow finished with 10, Seesz finished with eight, and so did Chloe Scholl.

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Alexandria's Allie Haabala drives to the hoop during the second half of a game against the St. Cloud Crush on Dec. 9, 2022. Haabala scored 11 points in the team's 75-37 win.
Sam Stuve / Alexandria Echo Press

This outing saw the Alexandria offense score a season-high in points. The defense held an opponent under 40 points for the second straight game. The Cardinals held three opponents to less than 40 points all of last season.

Alexandria’s home game on Friday was it's first and last in the month of December.

“It was good to be back here playing since we practice here and we’re familiar with it all, but we’ll play anywhere,” Seesz said.

Read more Alexandria Cardinals coverage from the Echo Press

Jayna Benson was the lone St. Cloud Crush (1-3) player to crack double figures, as she finished with 16 points.

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The Cardinals made nine three-pointers in the game, while the Crush made none.

Alexandria’s next home game doesn’t come until Tuesday, Jan. 3, at 7:15 p.m. against Bemidji, which is currently scheduled to be its ninth game of the season.

“It’s challenging, but we’ll make do with what we can, and we’ll try to get a win any way that we can,” Seesz said about playing eight out of the first nine games outside of Alexandria.”

With this win on Friday, Alexandria is now 3-0 against Central Lakes Conference opponents so far this season, as it has the aforementioned win on the road over Willmar, and it opened the season on Dec. 1 with a 66-62 win on the road over the Sauk Rapids-Rice Storm.

“We have team goals like winning the conference championship, the section championship, and making it to the state tournament,” Seesz said. “We also have individual goals that we set for ourselves, along with offensive goals, defensive goals, and overall goals.”

One of the strengths that Seesz said that the team has shown is unselfishness.

“I think we have done a good job being unselfish, and we've been working on our defensive transition, and I think that's really helping us in the earliest part of our season,” she said.

The Cardinals wrap up the month of December with road games against Marshall, Detroit Lakes, and Rocori.

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The Cardinals face Marshall (1-0) at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 13.

St. Cloud Crush - 20 17 - 37

Alexandria - 46 29 - 75

ALEXANDRIA SCORING - Ella Steussy - 5 points; Lauren Beyer- 3 points; Hadley Thul - 20 points; Morgan Seesz - 8 points; Chloe Scholl - 8 points; MaCee Linow - 10 points; Camree Miller - 2 points, Kaia Emter - 3 points; Allie Haabala - 11 points; Kate Hennessey - 2 points; McKinley Hoelscher - 3 points

ST. CLOUD CRUSH SCORING - Elise Hausmann - 5 points; Jayna Benson - 16 points; Miracle Jensen - 2 points; Maddie Nefs - 2 points; Alexis Finken - 6 points; Skylar Kampa - 1 point; Camryn Kenning - 4 points

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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