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Roundup: Alexandria pushes Hill-Murray, while West Central Area bounces back

The Cardinals finished a busy week with a 2-1 record ahead of welcoming in Willmar on Tuesday.

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Basketball
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The Alexandria girls basketball team was part of the Breakdown Tip-Off Classic on Saturday at Hopkins High School as the Cardinals wrapped up a 3-game week against a top-tier Class AAA program in Hill-Murray.

The Pioneers, 20-2 last winter, improved to 2-1 this season by holding off the Cardinals in a 59-56 game.

“Our defensive pressure, intensity, and rebounding were key,” Alexandria head coach Wendy Kohler said. “We handled the patented Hill-Murray pressure like seasoned veterans as our guards demonstrated great ball security and decision making consistently. We are so pleased with the growth and focus we are demonstrating every day.”

Freshman forward Hadley Thul has scored in double figures every game so far in leading Alexandria to a 2-1 first week of the season. Thul had 16 points, 7 rebounds and 5 steals on Saturday, while senior guard Tessa McGrane had 14 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Freshman guard Allie Haabala finished with 11 points.

The Cardinals will host Central Lakes Conference and now Section 8-3A rival Willmar on Tuesday night at 7:15. Willmar, 15-5 a year ago playing out of Section 5-3A, is 0-2 so far this season after losses to Orono (2-3) and Brainerd (2-1).

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HILL-MURRAY 59, ALEXANDRIA 56

ALEXANDRIA - Hadley Thul - 16 points, 7 rebounds, 5 steals; Tessa McGrane - 14 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists; Allie Haabala - 11; Lillian Thul - 8; Elle Heydt - 3; Chloe Scholl - 2; MaCee Linow - 2

Knights outlast Menahga

West Central Area bounced back from a loss at New London-Spicer on Nov. 30 by winning a 54-50 game against Staples-Motley (0-2) on Dec. 7.

The Knights got 18 points and 5 steals from Lexi Bright, and 17 points and 9 rebounds from Claire Stark to lead the way.

WCA 54, STAPLES-MOTLEY 50

WCA - Lexi Bright - 18 points, 5 steals; Claire Stark - 17 points, 9 rebounds; Liz Rustan - 8 rebounds, 4 deflections, 2 blocks; Mya Foslien - 9 points; Addison Staples - 4 assists; Halle Foslien - 4 points, 2 rebounds; Macy Grosz - 3 points, 2 assists

Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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