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Boys basketball: Willmar tames Brainerd

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sports Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
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Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

BRAINERD — Kyler Johnson plunked in 3 of 4 chances at the charity stripe in the last 16 seconds as the Willmar Cardinals rejected a Brainerd comeback bid 74-69 in Central Lakes boys basketball on Tuesday.

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The same teams meet in the Cardinals’ gym Thursday.

The Cards got up by four, 41-37, after 18 minutes and piled up an 11- point lead, 52-41, midway in the second half.

But the Warriors surged. Willmar lost starters Austin Grove and Adam Nibaur to fouls in the next-to-last minute.

With less than 40 seconds to go, Grant Reuer hit a trey and a deuce to get Brainerd within two, 71-69. But Johnson, who finished with a team-high 23 points, hit a pair free throws at 16 seconds and then, after a Brainerd 3-point miss by Isiah Smith, made 1 of 2 freebies with seconds to play.

The visitors sank 9 of 20 trey attempts. Tyler Stegeman scored 21 points and Joel Carter 12. Johnson made 7 of 11 floor shots and 5 of 6 at the line. Smith led the Warriors with 23 points.

The win gave the Cardinals, in second place, a two-game separation on the third-place Warriors.

Willmar 74, Brainerd 69

Willmar (11-2, 17-6)          41  33— 74

Brainerd (9-4, 12-10)       37  32— 69

WILLMAR – 26-52 FG (9-20 3-pt); 13-20 FT; 36 rebounds; 17 fouls … Scoring: Kyler Johnson 23, Tyler Stegeman 21, Joel Carter 12, Austin Grove 7, Adam Nibaur 6, Dylan Schuler 4 … 3-point shots: Johnson 4-6, Stegeman 2-6, Nibaur 2-4, Schueler 1-4 … Rebound leaders: Johnson 6, Carter 6, Grove 5, Nibaur 7, Schuler 5, Brady Damhof 2… Assist leaders: Stegeman 3, Schueler 4

BRAINERD – 25-60 FG (10-27 3-pt); 9-16 FT; 27 rebounds; 20 fouls … Scoring: Isiah Smith 23, DJ Kraemer 12, Grant Reuer 12, Kobe Ahonen 10, Logan McElfresh 6, Logan Madsen 4, Nick Schwen 2 … 3-point shots: Smith 5-12, Kraemer 2-2, Reuer 2-4, McElfresh 1-4 … Rebound leaders: Ahonen 7 … Assist leaders: Smith 3 … Steal leaders: Smith 2

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