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Tribune photo by Tom Larson Willmar’s Tyler Stegeman, left, drives to the basket for a shot over Brainerd’s Grant Reuer during the first half of a Central Lakes Conference game Thursday at Willmar High School. Stegeman scored 18 points to help lead the Cardinals to a 77-55 victory.

Boys basketball: Cardinals tame Warriors

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WILLMAR — Willmar jumped out on Brainerd in a big way on Thursday, converting tough defense into a ton of points in a 77-55 Central Lakes Conference win at Willmar High School.

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Willmar led 20-5 after five minutes and extended the margin to 27 points with 5:30 left in the first half. Quite a different performance than the Cardinals mounted in a five-point win at Brainerd on Tuesday.

“We learned from the first time some of the tendencies of Brainerd’s players,” Willmar head coach Steve Grove said. “We definitely positioned ourselves better and our intensity on the defensive was the key to the game.”

The Cardinals didn’t hurt themselves with blistering shooting, especially early in the game. They 56 percent overall and 44 percent from the 3-point arc.

“It sure doesn’t hurt when you shoot the ball that well,” Grove said with a laugh.

Kyler Johnson led the Cardinals with 21 points — he had 18 points at halftime — and Tyler Stegeman had 18 points and 5 assists.

Joel Carter was solid all-around, with 13 points, a game-high 9 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals. Adam Nibaur had 13 points and 7 rebounds.

The Cardinals improved to 12-2 in the CLC and 18-6 overall while the Warriors fell to 9-5 in the league and 12-11 overall.

Willmar plays at Sartell at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Willmar 77, Brainerd 55

Brainerd (9-5 12-11)        17 38 — 55

Willmar (12-2, 18-6)          49 28 — 77

BRAINERD – 18-48 FG (8-20 3-pt); 11-19 FT; 29 rebounds; 19 fouls … Scoring: Logan Madsen 10, Grant Reuer 8, Kobe Ahonen 8, Isaiah Smith 7, Logan Davis 5, D.J. Kraemer 3, Logan McElfresh 4, Nick Schwen 4, Michael Russell 2, Steven Severson 2, Conor Gessel 1 … 3-point shots: Madsen 2, Reuer 2, Smith 2, Davis 1, Kraemer 1 … Rebound leaders: Schwen 10, Ahonen 6 … Assist leaders: Madsen 3, Schwen 3 … Steal leaders: None

WILLMAR – 28-50 FG (7-16 3-pt); 14-21 FT; 30 rebounds; 18 fouls … Scoring: Kyler Johnson 21, Tyler Stegeman 18, Joel Carter 13, Adam Nibaur 13, Austin Grove 5, Josh Holtz 4, Dylan Schueler 3 … 3-point shots: Johnson 2, Stegeman 2, Nibaur 2, Schueler 1 … Rebound leaders: Carter 9, Nibaur 7, Johnson 5 … Assist leaders: Carter 7, Stegeman 5 … Steal leaders: Nibaur 4, Carter 3

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Tom Larson

Tom Larson is the sports editor of the West Central Tribune.

(320) 214-4372
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