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Boys Basketball: Cardinals fall to Mankato West in opener

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MANKATO — The Willmar boys basketball team fought back from a halftime deficit to take a second-half lead but the Cardinals went cold down the stretch and lost their season opener 62-54 to Mankato West on Saturday.

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The Cardinals play next at home against St. Cloud Tech at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Mankato West improved to 2-0.

“It was a back-and-forth game and we took the lead in the second half,” said Cardinals head coach Steve Grove. “But at the end, we couldn’t make any shots.”

Willmar’s Tyler Stegeman and Kyler Johnson both hit two 3-point shots and finished with 12 points, and Adam Nibaur added 10 points. Austin Grove scored 8 points and led the Cardinals with 13 rebounds.

Mankato West’s Jake Dale scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Steve Grove said the Cardinals performed well in a physical game against a Scarlets squad that returns several regulars from last year’s 16-win team.

“I was pleased with our effort in the first game against an experienced team,” he said.

Mankato West 62, Willmar 54

Willmar (0-1)      25 29 — 54

Mankato West (2-0)       31 31 — 62

WILLMAR – 20-50 FG (6-19 3-pt); 8-10 FT; 27 rebounds; 23 fouls … Scoring: Tyler Stegeman 12, Joel Carter 5, Josh Holtz 4, Dylan Schueler 3, Kyler Johnson 12, Adam Nibaur 10, Austin Grove 8 … 3-point shots: Stegeman 2, Schueler 1, Johnson 2, Nibaur 1 … Rebound leaders: Grove 13 … Assist leaders: Johnson 3, Schueler 3 … Steal leaders: None

MANKATO WEST – 21-53 FG (5-12 3-pt); 15-24 FT; 33 rebounds; 13 fouls … Scoring: Jake Dale 14, Tyler Stoffel 3, Carter Burmeister 4, Alex Goettl 6, Travon Jones 11, Ryan Schlichte 7, Steve Nessler 12, Braedan Myers 5 … 3-point shots: Jones 2, Schlichte 1, Nessler 2 … Rebound leaders: Dale 10 … Assist leaders: Burmeister 5 … Steal leaders: Burmeister 2

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