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Montevideo sophomore guard Brett Bergeson, right, is one of five starting underclassmen for the Thunder Hawks this season. He is shown here applying defensive pressure is a game against BOLD on Jan. 15 in Olivia. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

Buzzers not about to get Monte boys down

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

For the second time in four nights, the Montevideo boys basketball team was felled by a last-second shot on their home court. The latest came Tuesday night when Matt Anderson of Dawson-Boyd drained a 12-foot jumper at the buzzer to give the Blackjacks a 62-60 non-conference win over the Thunder Hawks.

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On Saturday, Willmar's Sam Esboldt snapped the cords from three-point range with two seconds left to give the Cardinals a 62-61 win over Montevideo.

Montevideo starts five underclassmen and coach Dan Douglas feels the close losses might help his team in the long run.

"I think we are getting some great experience in close games and that could help us at the end of the year," Douglas remarked. "We are playing great non-conference teams this year that are mostly senior-dominated teams. We have battled in almost every one of those games which should help us. We talked about how you make your breaks and it is not always what happens at the end that determines the game."

Montevideo also lost to Minnewaska 59-58 on a last-second shot on Jan. 28. And the Thunder Hawks fell to Windom 51-49 on Jan. 30, this time missing a last-second shot that could have tied the game.

"The kids know we are close to being where we need to be at the end of the year," said Douglas. "The trick is to keep good positive attitudes and continue working hard to improve these last couple of weeks. If we do, we could have an exciting end of the year."

Against Willmar, Douglas said the team felt good about the way they played against a bigger school.

"It was probably our most complete game of the year," he said. "Willmar won the game as opposed to us losing it. Esboldt made a three-pointer at the buzzer and he is a three-point shooter, as opposed to someone throwing in a desperation shot at the end."

The Thunder Hawks' determination left an impression on Willmar coach Steve Grove.

"I was really impressed with their team defense," he said. "They were really aggressive, and really got after us."

Douglas said Tuesday night's loss was similar to the Willmar setback because he felt the Thunder Hawks lost to a good team in which a senior made a last shot to beat them.

"We got off to a good start and then had a lapse for some minutes in the game," Douglas said. "Since Dawson-Boyd is a good team, it took advantage of our mistakes. We kept battling back and tied the game late."

The Thunder Hawks are now 8-9 on the season, yet don't feel snake-bitten despite four close losses that could have them sitting with a 12-5 record.

I don't think we're snake-bitten," said Douglas. "I believe that you make your breaks."

Despite having a young starting lineup, Douglas feels his seniors that are playing reserve roles have been the key to the team being competitive this season.

"They all come off the bench and have their roles," he said. "They have been an integral part of the success we are having and will have to end the year. They have been extremely supportive of the younger kids and have accepted their roles on the team. It is because of our seniors that our team is having success."

Hancock's Holleman is Miss Minnesota Basketball nominee

Hancock senior guard Bree Holleman, the area's all-time girls basketball scoring leader with just over 2,000 career points, is one of 37 first-cut finalists for the Miss Minnesota Basketball award that will be announced in April. She is the area's lone representative.

Holleman, a three-time All-Area selection, leads the area in scoring this season with a 22.9 average.

Hancock is 14-2 this season.

YME's Tongen gets 100th win

Justin Tongen, a 145-pound senior from Yellow Medicine East, recorded the 100th wrestling win of his career last Saturday in the semifinal of the West Central South Conference tournament in Montevideo.

Tongen went on to win the weight class and is currently 27-4 this season for the Sting.

LDC girls hockey team independent

Despite having its won-loss record show up daily in the Mississippi 8 Conference girls hockey standings online, Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato is not afilliated with that loop anymore. The Dragons dropped out after last season.

"The reason is two-fold," said LDC coach Brian Johnson. "We decided to drop our JV program and go with a 14U team instead. We thought from a competitive standpoint that it would be in our best interest to play as an independent. And we knew that the Wright County Conference would be offering girls hockey next season and then we would compete there with Hutchinson, Mound-Westonka, Orono and Holy Family/Waconia."

The Wright County Conference currently has boys hockey, but did not have enough teams before to also include the girls.

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