Boys basketball: Cards looking to reverse their fortune against Hutch tonight
WILLMAR — The Cardinals boys basketball team is hoping their season doesn’t end how it started out today when they host the Hutchinson Tigers in the opening round of the Section 2AAA playoffs at 7 p.m.
Hutchinson edged Willmar 57-54 on Dec. 6 in Hutchinson in the Cardinals’ season opener. Even though both teams had some-what similar records to end the regular season and the Tigers had the upper hand in an earlier meeting, Willmar was given the No. 4 seed and Hutchinson No. 5 at last week’s coaches’ seeding meeting.
However, both teams have gotten themselves into a late-season nosedive.
Willmar currently stands at 12-13 after having lost four of its last five regular-season games while Hutchinson, losers of its last two games, is 10-15. The Cardinals had won three straight in early February to get to 11-9 overall but since then they lost a five-point contest to Moorhead and went 1-3 in Central Lakes Conference play to end the regular season.
Hutchinson lost by 26 points and then by 16 in its last two regular-season games after it had won three straight by an average of 10 points.
During this season’s campaign Willmar has had a five-game win streak that came after it had lost four straight to open the season, a pair of three-game win streaks, a pair of three-game losing streaks and a two-game skid. An early five-game skid hasn’t allowed Hutchinson to get above .500 since it started out 3-2.
In the three other quarterfinal-round games today, No. 8 Dassel-Cokato (0-24) is at No. 1 Waconia (21-5), No. 7 New Ulm (5-21) is at No. 2 Marshall (24-2) and No. 6 Mankato East (6-20) is at No. 3 Mankato West (15-9).
The semifinals are Saturday at Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Taylor Center starting at 6 p.m. with the Waconia/DC-Willmar/Hutchinson winners squaring off.
Mankato East is the defending section champion.