ALEXANDRIA — Austin Rambow scored 24 points and Willmar held off a pesky Alexandria squad 66-60 on Thursday in Central Lakes boys basketball.
Joe Leuze added 12 points with key scores down the stretch. Kyler Johnson got most of his 11 points in the first half which ended with Willmar 5 points in front.
Willmar, now 7-7 overall, had to contend with 6-foot-8 center Logan Doyle, one of only three seniors on a young Alex team. Doyle, who finished with 14 points, had a pair of dunk when halfway through the second half when the two teams were jockeying for the lead.
Rambow, on an inbound give-and-go with Jordan Geurtz, scored at the buzzer for a 31-26 Willmar lead at halftime. Alexandria got its first lead, short lived, at 44-43. But Cody Magnuson vaulted Willmar back on top with 3-pointer but Doyle, on a flying dunk, tied the score at 46-all.
Rambow hit a 3 on transition and Willmar was on a 9-point run for a 55-47 lead with Leuze playing strong with the ball and getting to the charity stripe.
Alex kept charging and got the lead down to three-points but Willmar broke the press and Rambow had a gimme at the other end for a five-point bulge with only seconds left.
“I liked the way we kept our composure throughout the entire game,” said head coach Steve Grove. “We stayed under control even when it got really tight and they tied it up a couple of times.”
Junior guards John Vogeler and David Krivanek scored 17 and 16 points, respectively for Alexandria (1-4, 3-7).
Alexandria, a young team with three seniors, gets another shot at Willmar on Feb. 22 allowing Forrest Witt’s assistant coach, Josh Dale, to return to his home town and the court where he earned all-conference as a senior in 1997-98.
Willmar will attempt to extend their 2-game win streak on Saturday evening when they play host to St. Cloud Tech (1-3, 2-10).
Grove commented in the pre-game that he expects to have “team sparkplug” Tyler Stegeman, out with a foot injury, back in about 3 weeks.
Willmar 66, Alexandria 60
Willmar (3-4 7-7) 31 35 — 66
Alexandria (1-4 3-7) 26 34 — 60
WILLMAR – 23 FG (5 3-pt); 15-26 FT; NA rebounds; 16 fouls … Scoring: Joe Leuze 12, Kyler Johnson 11, Sean Zuidema 4, Jordan Geurtz 1, Dylan Schueler 2, Joel Carter 3, Austin Rambow 24, Alex Grove 4 … 3-point shots: Rambow, Leuze 2, Magnuson, Johnson
ALEXANDRIA – 21-56 FG (7-23 3-pt); 11-18 FT; 35 rebounds; 24 fouls … Scoring: David Krivanek 16, Logan Doyle 14, Chase Kohler 5, John Vogeler 17, Kevin Setterstrom 3, Joe Gorghuber 5 … 3-point shots: Kohler, Setterstrom, Vogeler 2, Krivanek 3 …