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Tribune photo by Rand Middleton Sartell senior guard Patrick Fischer drives the lane into a Willmar wall of Alex Grove, right, and Sean Zuidema, who was called for a foul before the shot in the first half on Friday in Willmar.

Boys basketball: Sabres cut down Cards

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WILLMAR — Before the largest crowd of the season — upwards of 500 fans — the Willmar Cardinals failed to keep up with the Sartell Sabres on Friday night.

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The Sabres, who appear to be cutting a new path in the Central Lake after years of mediocrity, sliced up the Cardinals defense 69-52.

“They’re a good club with height, a lot of experience and that 6-foot-4 point guard Patrick Fischer is hard to deal with he’s so strong,” said Willmar head coach Steve Grove.

Fischer potted the first basket of the game but 17 of his game-high 21 points would come in the second half.

The Sabres shot a torrid 79 percent inside the arc making 23 of 33 attempts.

Willmar did its best to keep pace. Down 10 with 7:00 minutes to play in the first half, Grove took his second time out.

The Cards responded with a 13-1 run capped by a pair of 3-pointers by Cody Magnuson from the left wing that put Willmar in front 30-28 with 2:30 to play in the half.

But then the offense locked up, just as it had on Tuesday night when Brainerd scored 20 of game’s final 22 points to overtake the Cardinals.

The Sabres went on a 16-point run to lead 35-30 at half and extend the margin to 44-30. The Cardinals answered with a 9-point spurt of their own but would get no closer than five points again.

The loss was Willmar’s second straight after winning five in a row.

Willmar (2-4, 5-6) shot just 30 percent overall and only 21 percent 3s (6 of 21).

Austin Rambow led the scoring column with 14 points.

Sartell last beat Willmar on the court March 5, 2004, 49-46, at Willmar. The Sabres finished 12-4 in second place behind Willmar in the CLC standings. They haven’t posted a winning conference record since.

The Sabres are now 4-2 in league with a two-game winning streak started with a 62-60 overtime win over Rocori.

The Cardinals are right back in action today playing a 2:30 p.m. game at Edina. The 4A Hornets (7-5), coached by Willmar native Patrick Dorsey, have won 7 of their last 8 after and 0-4 start. Edina averages 70 ppg and does not begin its Lake Classic schedule until Feb. 1 against Minnetonka.

Sartell 69, Willmar 52

Sartell (4-2, 6-5)    35  34 — 69

Willmar (2-4, 5-6)    30  22 — 52

SARTELL – 28-62 FG (5-29 3-pt); 8-11 FT; 26 rebounds; 15 fouls … Scoring: Tom Bearson 12, Patrick Fischer 21, Brandon Snowberger 8, Ben Lanners 11, Dylan Hollenkamp 3, Tim Immelman 6, Parker Hagen 8 … 3-point shots: Snoberger, Lanners 3, Hollenkamp

WILLMAR – 18-59 FG (6-29 3-pt); 10-14 FT; 22 rebounds; 12 fouls … Scoring: Joe Leuze 7, Jordan Geurtz 6, Cody Magnuson 9, Kyler Johnson 9, Austin Rambow 14, Alex Grove 7… 3-point shots: Magnuson 3, Leuze, Johnson 2… Rebound leaders: Rambow 7, Grove 4, Leuze 4, Geurtz 4 … Assist leaders: Grove 2, Leuze 6… Steal leaders: Leuze 2, Grove 1

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Rand Middleton

Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 

(320) 214-4334
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