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Boys Basketball: Cards throttle Apollo

Willmar center Adam Nibaur slips a pass out to the perimeter past St. Cloud Apollo’s Cole Johnson during the first half of a Central Lakes Conference game Friday at the Willmar High School gym. Tribune photo by Tom Larson

WILLMAR — A strong full-court press early in the game helped the Willmar Cardinals boys basketball team build a lead they eventually boosted to more than 20 points in the second half of a 77-62 Central Lakes Conference victory over St. Cloud Apollo on Friday at the Willmar High School gym.

The Cardinals, who improved to 7-2 in the Central Lakes Conference and 11-5 overall, play at Worthington at 7:30 p.m. Saturday before traveling for another Central Lakes Conference game at Brainerd on Monday.

Against Apollo, Cardinals head coach Steve Grove would have liked to have seen better offensive discipline but was pleased with his team’s defensive effort.

“They did what they had to do,” Grove said of the Cardinals. “I didn’t like some of our offensive possessions. We took some quick shots, I thought, but our full-court pressure was excellent. It’s what got us the lead in the first place.”

Five Cardinals scored in double figures, led by Austin Grove with 16 points and Adam Nibaur with 15. Kyler Johnson scored 14 points, Joel Carter had 13 and Tyler Stegeman finished with 12.

Grove had 8 rebounds and Carter had 6, and Stegeman had 3 assists and 4 steals.

Willmar 77, SC Apollo 62

SC Apollo (4-4, 11-6)       28  34 — 62

Willmar (6-2, 10-5)           39 38— 77

ST. CLOUD APOLLO – 23-57 FG (3-13 3-pt); 13-27 FT; 31 rebounds; 21 fouls … Scoring: Logan Battig 6, Cole Johnson 2, Ethan Carlson 8, Noel Tieden 11, Ethan Novacinski 16, Jeremy Koffi 13, Jack Atkinson 1, Michael Ashwill 5 … 3-point shots: Battig 2, Ashwill 1 … Rebound leaders: Ashwill 6, Koffi 5 … Assist leaders: Carlson 4 … Steal leaders: Koffi 2

WILLMAR – 28-55 FG (4-13 3-pt); 17-23 FT; 28 rebounds; 21 fouls … Scoring: Tyler Stegeman 12, Joel Carter 13, Dylan Schueler 5, Brady Damhof 2, Kyler Johnson 14, Adam Nibaur 15, Austin Grove 16 … 3-point shots: Stegeman 3, Schuler 3, Damhof 1, Johnson 3, Nibaur 3 … Rebound leaders: Grove 8, Carter 6 … Assist leaders: Stegeman 3, Johnson 3 … Steal leaders: Stegeman 4