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Boys Basketball: Cards belt Brainerd

Tribune photo by Rand Middleton Looking to capture an offensive rebound in the first half are Willmar's Alex Grove, from left, Austin Rambow and Matt Suedbeck while Brainerd's Jack Sauer moves in from the right. Willmar led at halftime 32-31.

Tribune Staff Report

WILLMAR -- The Willmar Cardinals regained the top perch alone in the Central Lakes again coupling their 73-62 victory over Brainerd with Rocori's 66-57 loss to Sartell on Friday evening.

Willmar is 9-3, Rocori 8-4, St. Cloud Tech 7-4 and Fergus Falls 7-5 after dropping St. Cloud Apollo, also last night, 51-46.

The Cardinals (12-6) overall overcame an athletic, quick and still young Brainerd team with balanced scoring and 50 percent shooting.

Four Cards scored in low double figures. Jimmy Unger popped for 15, Austin Rambow 13, Dean Stier 12 and Mo Mohamund 10.

Right behind those four came Alex Grove with 7 and Joe Leuze and Jeremy Olson with 5 apiece.

Willmar plays the Moorhead Spuds (13-4) in a twin bill with the Cardinals girls at the border city today.

Early on against the Warriors (6-5, 11-8) it looked like Willmar might breeze. A Mohamud steal and lay-in was good for a 23-12 rule. But moment later, the senior guard picked up his second foul and was called to the bench for the rest of the half.

Brainerd, coming off double-digit wins over St. Cloud Tech and Alexandria, went on a run to tie the score 30-30 when Blake Peterson hit a trey and followed that with a layup.

Stier answered right back cutting inside for a basket and a 32-31 lead at the break.

Out of the locker room Jagar Hanson hit a 3 for one of Brainerd's briefly held leads, 34-32. At 37-all, Stier swished a 3 and Leuze tagged that with a takaway to lay-up for a 42-37 bulge. Unger hit another 3 and Olson a 3-point play for a 53-45 lead at 9:40.

The Warriors fought back again getting the lead down to four 60-56 but again Willmar was able to pull away when Brainerd the Warriors' shots stopped falling.

Junior guard Jack Sauer paced Brainerd with 19 points. Peterson added 16 but after that came Chris Bowman with 6.

The Cardinals, who sweep the Brainerd series, are next at home Thursday against the Sabres.

Willmar 73, Brainerd 62

Brainerd (6-5, 11-8) 31 31 -- 62

Willmar (9-3, 12-6) 32 41 -- 73

BRAINERD - 23-66 FG (9-30 3-pt); 7-9 FT; 22 rebounds; 19 fouls ... Scoring: Blake Peterson 16, Tony Sauer 4, Jack Sauer 19, Tommy Olson 4, Riley Kline 2, Marcus Comstock 6, Chris Bowman 6, Jager Hanson 5 ... 3-point shots: Peterson 4, J. Sauer 2, Bowman 2, Hanson 1

WILLMAR - 26-50 FG (7-16 3-pt); 14-24 FT; 28 rebounds; 15 fouls ... Scoring: Dean Stier 12, Joe Leuze 5, Jimmy Unger 15, Matt Suedbeck 6, Jeremy Olson 5, Mo Mohamud 10, Austin Rambow 13, Alex Grove 7 ... 3-point shots: Suedbeck 1, Unger 3, Leuze 1, Stier 2... Rebound leaders: Rambow 6, Grove 4, Olson 5, Suedbeck 5, Unger 4 ... Assist leaders: Stier 4, Unger 3, Olson 3 ... Steal leaders: Mohamed 3, Leuze 2

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