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Boys basketball: Cardinals stay hot, beat Sartell

Tribune Sports

SARTELL — Halftime revitalized the Willmar boys basketball team, which put up 52 second-half points against a sound Sartell team and defeated the Sabres 78-66 in a Central Lakes Conference game Friday.

The teams were tied at 26 at the break, but the Cardinals were more aggressive going to the basket in the second half, said Willmar head coach Steve Grove.

“We didn’t play great in the first half and we were not shooting well,” said Grove, whose team has won nine of its last 10 games after starting 0-2. “We were able to get to the rim a lot in the second half and we handled a lot of different defenses.”

The Cardinals shot 66 percent overall from the field, with Tyler Stegeman hitting 6-of-7 2-pointers and 3-of-4 3-pointers. He finished with a game-high 22 points.

Joel Carter, Dylan Schueler and Austin Grove all scored 14 points for the Cardinals, who built their lead to as many as 19 points in the second half.

Grove led the Cardinals with 5 rebounds and Kyler Johnson finished with 10 points and 5 assists.

The Cardinals improved to 9-3 overall and 5-1 in the CLC. They play an important Section 2AAA game at Marshall on Tuesday.

Mankato West (9-3), Marshall (10-2) and Willmar are currently the top three teams in the section rankings.

“Marshall already beat West earlier (by 28 points on Dec. 21 in Mankato) and they’re an athletic team,” said Grove, whose team lost to West by eight points in the season opener. “If we want to contend for that top (section) spot, this is a big game for us.”

Willmar 78, Sartell 66

Willmar (5-1, 9-3)              26 52 — 78

Sartell-SS (3-3, 5-6)          26 40 — 66

WILLMAR – 33-50 FG (5-14 3-pt); 7-8 FT; 22 rebounds; 17 fouls … Scoring: Tyler Stegeman 22, Joel Carter 14, Dylan Schueler 14, Kyler Johnson 10, Adam Nibaur 4, Austin Grove 14 … 3-point shots: Stegeman 3, Schueler 2 … Rebound leaders: Grove 5, Nibaur 3 … Assist leaders: Johnson 5, Carter 3 … Steal leaders: NA

SARTELL-ST. STEPHEN – 25-41 FG (5-9 3-pt); 11-16 FT; 14 rebounds; 9 fouls … Scoring: Alex Haima 10, Scott Ballard 8, Tyler Tillotson 3, Cordell 2, Brandon Snoberger 18, Sam Neeser 3, Kevin Wolfe 12, Kyle Och 3, Nolan Frank 2 … 3-point shots: Snoberger 3, Och 1, Ballard 1 … Rebound leaders: Nesser 3, Wolfe 3 … Assist leaders: Snoberger 2 … Steal leaders: NA