Boys basketball: Sabres sack Cards
WILLMAR — The Sartell Sabres found a chink in the Willmar attack and handed the Cardinals a 64-60 Central Lakes setback on Tuesday evening.
Willmar led 53-50 with 3:31 left. But the Sabres went on a 7-0 run to take command and then repelled Willmar at the free-throw line, where Tom Bearson, a 6-2 guard, who made 8 of 9 in the late going on the way to scoring 24 points.
Willmar’s offense flinched facing the Sabres 1-3-1 zone, though Kyler Johnson would finish with 30 points, 5 rebounds and 2 blocks.
“Their zone really bothered us tonight and we didn’t do a good job moving the ball around,” said Cardinals head coach Steve Grove. “(Sartell) seemed to get the big rebound, the big shot, and we didn’t.”
The Cardinals’ Section 2AAA seed will be decided today, and Grove expects Willmar will be No. 3 behind prospective top-seed Marshall and Mankato West.
As such, Willmar’s game Friday at Alexandria won’t have any bearing on the postseason but Grove said he wants the team to recapture the momentum that led them to eight wins in nine games prior to the Sartell game.
“I can’t complain,” Grove said. “We’ve had a nice run of late and this was just one of those nights we haven’t had a lot of lately. But we have to play well at Alex. You don’t want to be limping into the playoffs.”
Johnson, he 6-foot-4 senior guard formally signed a National Letter of Intent with Waldorf College before family and friends in the gym at 3:30 p.m. Waldorf coach Nigel Jenkins made the trip up from Forest City, Iowa, for the ceremony and then saw the Warriors’ acquisition but on quite a show, hitting 10 of 21 from the field and 7 of 7 on the stripe. Johnson had 19 points by half but the Cards trailed 33-31.
The Sabres (8-6, 15-9) extend their win streak to five games.
The Cardinals (12-3, 18-7)) saw their last chance at catching the Tech Tigers dissolve. Tech defeated Alexandria 53-50 on Tuesday to wrap up the CLC championship.
Tuesday game marked the first time in 15 games in 2014 the Cardinals scored fewer than 72 points.
Tyler Stegeman scored 14 points and Joel Carter, the first of four Cardinals to foul out with 2:43 left, finished with 11. Adam Nibaur and Austin Grove combined for just 5 points and there were no bench points. The shooters made 17 of 18 at the line but just 5 of 22 from the arc.
Behind Bearson, who also supplied 6 assists and 5 steals, came Brandon Snoberger with 14, Tyler Tillotson with 11 and Sam Neeser with nine points.
Seven Cardinal seniors were honored on Senior Night.
Willmar is at Alexandria on Friday to close the schedule but will be back home on Tuesday to host a Section 2AAA quarterfinal.
Sartell 64, Willmar 60
Sartell (8-6, 15-9) 33 31—64
Willmar (12-3, 18-7) 31 29—60
SARTELL – 17-44 FG (8-18 3-pt); 22-34 FT; 29 rebounds; 16 fouls … Scoring: Tom Bearson 24, Brandon Snoberger 14, Tyler Tillotson 10, Sam Neeser 9, Scott Ballard 3, Kyle Och 3 … 3-point shots: Bearson 2, Snoberger 2, Tillotson, Neeser 2, Ballard … Rebound leaders: Tillotson 9, Bearson 5, Neeser 5 … Assist leaders: Bearson 6 … Steal leaders: Beason 5
WILLMAR – 19-54 FG (5-22 3-pt); 17-18 FT; 32 rebounds; 26 fouls … Scoring: Kyle Johnson 30, Tyler Stegeman 14, Joel Carter 11, Adam Nibaur 3, Austin Grove 2 … 3-point shots: Johnson 3-10, Stegeman 2-5 … Rebound leaders: Carter 8, Johnson 5, Dylan Schuler 3, Brady Damhof 4… Assist leaders: Stegeman 3 … Steal leaders: Carter 3 … Blocks: Carter 3, Stegeman 2