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Boys basketball: Willmar defense stifles Fergus

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sports Willmar, 56201

Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

FERGUS FALLS — The Willmar Cardinals’ defense is now heating up to match the temperature of the offense.

Monday, in Fergus Falls, Willmar held the Otters to 14 second half points while grabbing a 75-46 Central Lakes Conference victory. It’s the 10th straight game the offense produced in the 70s or 80s.

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At intermission, the Cards were up 37-32. After the halftime rest, the visitors blew the game apart with an 18-0 run for a 55-32 lead.

“That second half was the best defensive effort of the year by far,” said Willmar head coach. “The full-court pressure led to steals, we stopped their drives and we controlled the boards.”

Kyler Johnson, Tyler Stegeman and Joel Carter were especially punishing defensively.

On the attack, typically balanced, Johnson struck for 20, Joel Carter 15, Adam Nibaur 13, Tyler Stegeman 12 and Austin Grove 8.

Johnson, Grove and Nibaur combined to haul in 17 runs. The Cardinals fired at a 48 percent clip from the field and 79 percent at the gimme line (26 of 33).

Fergus, dropping to 3-8 in the loop, shot 27 percent on its home court. Only Austin Rund, a 6-foot-4 senior center with a long-range shot (like Willmar’s Nibaur), could do much damage, ending with a game-high 23 points.

The Cardinals (9-2, 15-5), winners of five straight, are at Sauk Rapids on Friday.

Willmar 75, Fergus Falls 46

Willmar (9-2, 15-5)            37  38 — 75

Fergus Falls (3-8, 10-9)   32  14 — 46

WILLMAR – 22-46 FG (5-11 3-pt); 26-33 FT; 26 rebounds; 22 fouls … Scoring: Tyler Stegeman 12, Joel Carter 15, Zach Rademacher 2, Josh Holtz 2, Dylan Schueler 3, Kyler Johnson 20, Adam Nibaur 13, Austin Grove 8 … 3-point shots: Nibaur 1-2, Stegeman 2-3, Johnson 2-3 … Rebound leaders: Grove 5, Johnson 8, Nibaur 4  … Assist leaders: Carter 3, Johnson 4 … Steal leaders: Carter 4

FERGUS FALLS – 13-49 FG (7-20 3-pt); 13-22 FT; 24 rebounds; 22 fouls … Scoring: Drew Pearson 3, Noah Strom 3, Matt Monke 1, Jaden Banks 3, Jake Western 6, Derek Kramer 2, Isaiah Lemke 5, Austin Rund 23 … 3-point shots: Banks, Western 2, Rund 4 … Rebound leaders: Rund 7, Lemke 5 … Assist leaders: Lemke 3 … Steal leaders: Lemke 2

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